Bobcats Coaching Staff
On April 29, 2008, the Bobcats named Larry Brown as the third head coach in franchise history. Brown, who was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, brings 23 years of NBA head coaching experience to the Bobcats.
The fifth-winningest coach in NBA history with 1,010 career victories, Brown has led his teams to 17 playoff appearances, eight 50-win seasons, seven division titles, three conference championships and one NBA Championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2003-04. Brown also led the University of Kansas to an NCAA title in 1987-88, listing him as the only head coach ever to win both an NCAA title and an NBA Championship.
Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2000-01 after leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 56-26 regular-season record and a berth in the NBA Finals. He was also named ABA Coach of the Year three times – once with the Carolina Cougars (1972-73) and twice with the Denver Nuggets (1974-75, 1975-76) – in his four seasons in the league.
He began his career in 1972-73 in the ABA, where he coached Carolina for two seasons before taking the helm in Denver for two seasons. He continued with the Nuggets following their move to the NBA for the 1976-77 season, and he has since served as head coach of the New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks. In addition, Brown spent seven seasons on the collegiate level, two at UCLA and five at Kansas.
Brown also served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 and was an assistant coach for the 1980 team and for the 2000 team that won a Gold Medal in Sydney. Winning a Gold Medal as a player on the 1964 U.S. team, he is the only male basketball participant to both play and serve as head coach for the U.S. Olympic team.
No stranger to North Carolina basketball fans, Brown played collegiately at the University of North Carolina from 1959-63 and served as an assistant coach at UNC from 1965-67 before returning to the Carolinas to coach the Cougars from 1972-74.
Dave Hanners was named an assistant coach on June 4, 2008 and is reunited with Brown, having served as an assistant coach with him for six seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (2003-05) and New York Knicks (2005-06). Hanners, who spent the last three seasons on the Knicks bench, was an assistant coach for Detroit’s 2003-04 NBA Championship team, as well as the 2000-01 76ers and 2004-05 Pistons teams that won Eastern Conference titles.
Prior to his NBA career, Hanners spent 11 seasons alongside Ford as assistant coaches at their alma mater, the University of North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels to the 1993 NCAA Championship, six Final Fours and four ACC titles under Hall of Fame Coach Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge.
Hanners played guard at UNC under Smith from 1972-76, sharing a backcourt with Ford for his final two seasons. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Tar Heels from 1976-78, then spent three seasons as an assistant coach at UNC-Wilmington, two seasons at Furman and four seasons at East Tennessee State before returning to UNC in 1989 as an assistant coach.
Phil Ford enters his second season as a Bobcats assistant coach after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant with the New York Knicks. He made his NBA coaching debut with the Detroit Pistons during the 2004-05 season. Ford previously served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, for 12 seasons, including nine under Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith.
The 1979 NBA Rookie of the Year, Ford averaged 11.6 points in 482 games over his seven-year career with the Kansas City Kings, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets. The second overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, he also earned All-Rookie and All-NBA Second Team honors that season. During his third year in the league, he led the Kings to the 1981 Western Conference Finals.
Prior to the NBA, Ford was a standout player at UNC, where he still holds the school’s career scoring record (2,290) and ranks third in career assists (753). He earned First Team All-America and All-ACC honors in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Ford won the John Wooden Award and was named ACC Player of the Year in 1978, and was named ACC Athlete of the Year in both 1977 and 1978. Ford, who led the Tar Heels in scoring three times and led the ACC in assists three times, had his No. 12 jersey retired by the school. He was also a member of the Gold Medal-winning United States team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where he averaged 11.3 points during competition.
Ford was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and was voted one of the ACC’s Top 10 all-time male athletes, as well as one of its Top 50 all-time male basketball players, during the conference’s Golden Anniversary celebration in 2003.
Ford and his wife, Traci, have a daughter, Tyler, and a son, Mitchell.
After successful head coaching tenures at the college and minor league levels, Jeff Capel has served as an assistant coach for the Bobcats since the team’s inaugural season.
He was the head coach of the Fayetteville Patriots in the NBA Development League for two-plus seasons, with a 69-61 (.531) record. He took over the head coaching job midway through the Patriots’ inaugural season in 2001-02. In his first full season, he guided the team to the D-League Finals and a league-best 32-18 record. In 2003-04, Capel coached four players who earned call-ups to the NBA and still led the Patriots to the postseason.
Capel spent 12 years as a college head coach at Old Dominion, North Carolina A&T and Fayetteville State, with a combined record of 201-162 (.554). In a seven-year run at Old Dominion, Capel compiled a 122-98 (.555) record, a school-record 25-win season, two NCAA Tournament appearances and one postseason NIT berth. Capel spent the 1993-94 season at North Carolina A&T, where he led the Aggies to the MEAC Championship, an NCAA Tournament berth and a 15-13 record. His first head coaching job on the college level came at his alma mater, Fayetteville State, where he posted a 64-51 (.557) record from 1989-93.
Capel and his wife, Jerry, are the parents of a pair of former ACC collegiate basketball players. Jeff Capel III played at Duke University from 1993-97 and Jason Capel attended the University of North Carolina from 1998-2002, before playing for his father for two seasons with the Fayetteville Patriots. Jeff Capel III is in his second season as head men’s basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma
Herb Brown was named an assistant coach on July 7, 2008. He reunites with his brother for a third time, having previously joined him on the bench in both Detroit and Philadelphia, where the brothers led their teams to the 2004 NBA Championship and 2001 Eastern Conference Championship, respectively. Brown, who brings over 40 years of experience to the Bobcats, spent the last four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. He was head coach of the Pistons from 1976-78, leading Detroit to back-to-back playoff appearances, and has served as an assistant with the Houston, Phoenix, Indiana, Chicago and Portland, in addition to the Pistons, 76ers and Hawks.
Brown’s coaching experience also includes time in the International Basketball League, Western Basketball Association and Continental Basketball Association, winning CBA Coach of the Year honors in 1984. Internationally, he has coached in the European Professional Basketball League, where he won a title in 1975, and 15 summers in the Puerto Rico Basketball League, where his teams went to the playoffs each year and won a championship in 1984. He also coached in Spain for six seasons and led Team USA to a gold and two bronze medals in the Maccabiah Games in Israel, including a bronze in 2005.
The author of three books about basketball, Brown is a frequent participant in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, as well as Peace Players International and the Friendship Games.
A 15-year NBA veteran in his second year as a Bobcats assistant coach, LaSalle Thompson played for Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown in two separate stints with the Indiana Pacers from 1993-95 and again in 1997. Thompson, who was selected fifth overall in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings, posted career averages of 7.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in 985 games for the Kings, Pacers, 76ers and Nuggets. He finished in the top 10 in the NBA in rebounding in both 1984-85 and 1985-86 and still ranks among the Kings’ franchise leaders in rebounds (sixth – 4,214) and blocked shots (second – 697).
Thompson played three seasons at the University of Texas before leaving early for the NBA after leading NCAA Division I in rebounding as a junior and ranking fifth as a sophomore. A consensus all-Southwest Conference selection in both his sophomore and junior years, Thompson was inducted into the UT Athletics Hall of Honor in 1998.
Thompson spent the 2000-01 season as General Manager of the San Diego Wildfire in the ABA. Since then, he has operated his own businesses, TNT Motorsports, a car and truck customizing business, and a land development firm.