Sonics Name Hill, Lewis Assistant Coaches
Hill and Lewis join current Sonics assistant Jack Sikma on Weiss’ bench for the 2005-06 season, which opens Wednesday, Nov. 2 vs. the L.A. Clippers at KeyArena. Weiss was named head coach of the Sonics July 18.
“I’m greatly looking forward to working with both Bob and Ralph,” Weiss said. “Their extensive coaching experience will be invaluable for our young and talented team.”
“I’m humbled by this opportunity the Sonics organization has given me,” Hill said. “I’ve always had great respect for the Sonics franchise and its status as one of the cornerstones of the NBA. Seattle is a beautiful city with an incredible NBA fan base. I can’t wait to get things started.”
From 1994 through 1996, Hill led the San Antonio Spurs to a record of 121-43, won two division titles and guided his team to the Western Conference Finals in 1995. In that series, the Spurs lost to the eventual NBA Champion Houston Rockets. During the 1993-94 season, Hill worked as an assistant under Orlando Head Coach Brian Hill and helped the Magic register a 50-win season. After taking over as head coach for the 9-16 Indiana Pacers in 1991-92, Hill finished the season 32-25. Hill compiled a 113-108 record during his three seasons with Indiana (1990 through 1993).
A native of Ohio, Hill holds an overall NBA head coaching record of 257-212 (.548). In his five full seasons as an NBA head coach, Hill and his teams reached the playoffs each year.
Hill was an assistant coach at the University of Kansas from 1977 through 1985 serving under Jayhawks head coaches Ted Owens and Larry Brown. He was also an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh and at Bowling Green.
The author of the book “Coaching For Success and Beyond,” Hill often gives motivational speeches on the theme of “Team Bonds.”
A graduate of Bowling Green, Hill and his wife of 31 years, Pam, are the parents of sons Cameron, Christopher and Casey.
Lewis, head coach of the Huntsville Flight (NBA Development League) from 2002 through last season, compiled a 73-71 record in three seasons with the club, including two consecutive playoff appearances. The Flight set team records for number of wins in a season with 24 in 2003-04 and 27 in 2004-05. Prior to being named head coach, Lewis served as an assistant coach under Bob Thornton in 2001-02. During the 1997-98 season, Lewis was an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings.
“Coach Weiss and the Sonics have given me a great opportunity and I’m very thankful,” Lewis said. “This has been a long time coming and I’m going to make every effort to help this team have a successful season and contend for an NBA title.”
A native of Philadelphia, Lewis played professionally for 10 years in minor-league basketball, international ball and the NBA. The three-year NBA player had stints with the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets where he averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 99 regular-season games. Lewis was originally drafted in the sixth round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
A 1985 graduate of LaSalle University, Lewis averaged 15.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game during his collegiate career and shot 53 percent from the field.
In addition to his playing and coaching experience, Lewis has worked as an executive in the human resources and healthcare fields. Lewis and his wife Keami are the parents of Ralph III and Bianca.