Suns Announce Coaching, Scouting Staff Additions

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns today announced the additions of Jerry Sichting (CEASE-sting), Mike Longabardi (lon-guh-BAR-dee), Kenny Gattison and Mark West as assistant coaches, Irving Roland as a player development assistant, and Scott Vaughan as advance scout.

“I’m very excited to complete my coaching staff with such established, well-rounded basketball people,” said Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek. “We were able to add offensive minds, defensive minds, former players and experienced coaches. What they all have in common is a willingness to work hard, communicate well, and help our players and our team get better every day.”

A 24-year career as an NBA player, coach and executive has led Sichting to the Suns’ bench after last season serving as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. In addition to his time in the nation’s capital, Sichting’s bench experience includes 11 seasons as an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves (1996-06, 2007-09), Golden State Warriors (2010-11) and Marquette University (2006-07). He was an assistant under head coach Flip Saunders and helped lead the Timberwolves’ young franchise to its first winning season (1997-98), first 50-win season (1999-00), first playoff appearance (1996-97) and to the first Western Conference Finals in team history (2003-04).

A 10-year NBA veteran as a player, Sichting began his front office career in 1995-96 as the director of scouting and player development for Minnesota before moving to the bench; he was also the team’s director of pro personnel in 2009-10 before joining Golden State.

Originally selected in the fourth round (82nd overall) of the 1979 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, the former Purdue Boilermaker saw action with the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks in his decade-long career. He averaged 6.9 points and 3.3 assists in 598 career games, made two trips to the NBA Finals (1986, 1987) and was a member of the 1986 NBA Champion Boston Celtics. Sichting was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

Jerry and his wife, Joni, have four children: Jared, Jason, Jordan and Jenna.

Longabardi joins the Suns after six seasons as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics under Doc Rivers. His tenure in Boston, which began in 2007-08, included three appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals, two trips to the NBA Finals, and the 2008 NBA title. The last three seasons he has coordinated one of the league’s premier defenses, a Celtics team that finished first in points allowed and third in field goal defense in 2010-11, and second in points allowed and first in field goal defense in 2011-12.

Longabardi made the jump to Boston after previously spending four seasons with the Houston Rockets alongside defensive specialist Tom Thibodeau, a former assistant in both Houston and Boston, now the head coach of the Chicago Bulls. While in Houston, he was an assistant coach/video coordinator (2005-07), video coordinator (2004-05) and assistant video coordinator (2003-04).

A native of Brooklyn, New York, and graduate of Frostburg State University, Longabardi was an assistant coach on the collegiate level for seven seasons with stints at Pfeiffer University, Adelphi University, Lafayette College and Towson University. He was a member of the coaching staff that led the Lafayette Leopards to a Patriot League title and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

He and his wife, Andreana, have two daughters, Olivia and Francesca.

Gattison returns to Phoenix, the team that originally drafted him in 1986 with the 55th overall selection (third round), the club’s subsequent pick after Hornacek (second round, 46th overall). Gattison spent three seasons with the Suns (1986-89) as a teammate of both Hornacek and West.

A 10-year veteran of the NBA coaching ranks, the 49-year-old most recently served as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks (2010-12), which followed stints in New Orleans (2003-09) and New Jersey (1996-99), as well as at his alma mater, Old Dominion University (2001-03). He was also selected as an assistant during the 2009 Team USA Summer Camp workouts in Las Vegas.

Gattison’s nine-year NBA playing career with the Suns, Charlotte Hornets (1989-95) and Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96) saw him average 7.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 494 contests (130 starts). A former teammate of West at Old Dominion, the Wilmington, NC, native was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 after a standout career in which he was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year as a senior.

He and his wife, Harriet, have four children: Natasha, Kyle, Bryce and Grant.

One of the most popular Suns on the court and in the community, West has been a mainstay in the organization for 20 years, including eight seasons as a player and 12 in the front office.

West’s 17-year NBA career saw him play 543 games over eight seasons (1988-94, 1999-00) in a Phoenix uniform, including five seasons as a teammate of Hornacek and three alongside Gattison. In his introductory press conference, Hornacek estimated that he scored 5,000 career points off unselfish screens from West.

Originally acquired along with Kevin Johnson from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 25, 1988, in one of the biggest trades in franchise history, West averaged 6.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in a Phoenix uniform and started all 106 games (82 regular season, 24 playoff) in the Suns’ 1992-93 Western Conference Championship season.

West, who originally joined the Suns executive staff in 2001, has served as the team’s Vice President of Player Programs since 2006, responsible for player relations and development, business of basketball training, and community representation. He is a 1983 graduate of Old Dominion with a degree in business administration and owns a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. In 1988, he was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame.

Mark and his wife, Elaina, have two sons: Markus and Markyle.

A former college basketball player at Carl Albert State College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Roland joins the Suns from his individual workout start-up, Blueprint Basketball. Founded in 2011 with two colleagues, Blueprint Basketball focuses on basketball skill-training and offseason strength and conditioning for a roster of athletes that has included such names as Kevin Durant, James Harden, Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay, Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack and Mario Chalmers.

Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Irving’s basketball operations internship with the Boston Celtics in 2004 led to a one-year stint as assistant video coordinator (2005-06) for the New Orleans Hornets before being named the team’s video coordinator (2006-10) under head coach Byron Scott on a staff that also featured Gattison.

Vaughan, the Suns’ new advance scout, joins Phoenix after serving in the same role with the Utah Jazz since 2007, aiding the preparation of a coaching staff that included Hornacek. A former player and graduate assistant at Dallas Baptist University, Vaughan graduated with a degree in business administration. Before his time in the NBA, Vaughan was a high school and college athletic director, most recently at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.

Vaughan has coached his son’s high school basketball team to two state titles. He and his wife, Lynelle, have four children: Kyler, Kensen, Skylan, Kaden