Nets Reach Agreement with Avery Johnson to Become Coach
June 10, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—The New Jersey Nets have reached an agreement in principle with Avery Johnson to become the team’s new head coach, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today.
“We are very pleased to welcome Avery as the new head coach of the Nets,” said Thorn. “He has enjoyed success in this league as both a player and head coach, and we feel that he possesses all of the characteristics, including knowledge, passion and leadership, that are necessary for us to be a championship contender in the years to come.”
“The hiring of Avery Johnson as the Nets head coach is a wonderful first step towards building a winning team,” said Nets Principal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “His leadership qualities, knowledge of the game and ability to motivate are all talents we will be calling upon as we move forward. This is the beginning of what I hope will be many more exciting announcements to come before the start of the season.”
“I am really excited to be the head coach of the New Jersey Nets, it’s an honor,” said Johnson. “I want to thank Mikhail Prokhorov and Rod Thorn for their confidence in appointing me as head coach. The future of the team is bright and I am excited to be a part of that future. We want to play tough, hard-nosed defense and we are going to move the ball on offense. It’s all going to begin with training camp where we will start building a foundation for the future.”
Johnson brings a 194-70 (.735) career coaching record to the Nets, having led the Dallas Mavericks to the postseason in each of his three-plus seasons as head coach. He holds the highest coaching winning percentage in NBA history and set the record for reaching the 150 win plateau the fastest (191 games). In 2005-06, Johnson led the Mavericks to their first ever appearance in the NBA Finals en route to earning NBA Coach of the Year honors.
Johnson was appointed head coach of the Mavericks on March 19, 2005, following the resignation of Don Nelson. An immediate success, Johnson finished the season with a 16-2 mark, earning Western Conference Coach of the Month honors for April. In his first full season as head coach, Johnson led the 2005-06 Mavericks to a 60-22 record and the team’s first ever Western Conference Championship. The following season, he guided the team to an NBA best 67 wins in 2006-07. Making the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, Johnson holds a career playoff record of 23-24 (.489).
Johnson began the 2004-05 season as an assistant coach with Dallas after retiring as a player on October 28, 2004. In 16 NBA seasons, he averaged 8.4 points, 5.5 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 25.3 minutes played in 1,054 career games with seven different teams. Known as “The Little General” for his on-court leadership and diminutive stature, Johnson helped guide the San Antonio Spurs to an NBA Championship in 1999.
The New Orleans native played his final two collegiate seasons at Southern University, leading the NCAA in assists in each of his two years at Southern, and was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the MVP of the conference tournament as both a junior and senior.
Following his time in Dallas, Johnson has spent the past two seasons as an NBA analyst for ESPN.