Billy Donovan | Head Coach
Billy Donovan is set to embark on his second season as Thunder head coach after leading Oklahoma City to a 55-win season, a Northwest Division title and a spot in the Western Conference Finals during his first NBA campaign.
By winning 55 games during the 2015-16 season, Donovan became the only first-year NBA head coach in league history to accomplish such a feat after coming directly from the college ranks. Additionally, Donovan became just the third first year head coach in the last 15 years to win 55 or more games during his first season (Kerr & Thibodeau).
After being named head coach on April 30, 2015, Donovan became the third head coach in Thunder history after enjoying an incredibly successful college coaching career that spanned more than two decades.
During the previous 19 years as head coach at the University of Florida, Donovan led the Gators to two National Championships and four trips to the Final Four while amassing a record of 467-186 (.715). During the 2014-15 season, Donovan became the second youngest coach in NCAA history (Bob Knight) to claim 500 wins.
During his tenure at Florida, Donovan led the program to 16 straight 20-win seasons, three 30-win seasons, 17 consecutive trips to the postseason and six SEC Championships. Under Donovan, Florida advanced to the Elite Eight in six of the past 10 seasons.
Donovan concluded his time at Florida with the second most wins for a SEC program (467) in the history of the conference. Additionally, his 35 NCAA tournament wins rank as the most all-time among SEC coaches. Donovan’s win total is more than twice that of any other coach in Florida history.
After winning back-to-back national championships (2006 and 2007), Donovan led Florida to 18 straight postseason wins, the longest run for any program since John Wooden led UCLA to 28 straight postseason wins.
Donovan has been the recipient of numerous collegiate coaching awards including ESPN.com’s National Coach of the Year (2001), the Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” Honor (2010) and SEC Coach of the Year (2011, 2013, 2014).
In addition to his responsibilities at Florida, Donovan has served as head coach of USA Basketball’s U18 and U19 National Teams in each of the past three summers. As a head coach with USAB, Donovan’s teams have captured three gold medals while going a perfect 19-0 during national team competition. Prior to leading the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Team to the gold medal last summer in Colorado Springs, CO, Donovan guided the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team to a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal in Prague, Czech Republic, and the 2012 USA U18 National Team to a 5-0 slate and gold in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil.
Donovan’s coaching experience dates back to the 1989-90 season where he served as a graduate assistant coach at Kentucky. After five years with the Wildcats, Donovan was hired as head coach at Marshall, where he spent two years before leaving for Florida.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Donovan enjoyed a four-year playing career at Providence where he helped lead the Friars to their best season in school history and a trip to the Final Four in 1987. In addition, Donovan appeared in 44 games as a member of the New York Knicks during the 1987-88 season.
Adrian Griffin | Assistant Coach
Griffin joins Donovan’s staff after spending the 2015-16 season as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic. Prior to last year, Griffin spent the five previous seasons (2010-15) as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls.
His coaching experience dates back to 2008 where he served as assistant coach/player development for two seasons (2008-10) with the Milwaukee Bucks. During the summer of 2014, Griffin worked with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team that captured the gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
As a player, Griffin appeared in 477 career NBA games (179 starts) during nine seasons with Boston, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Seattle, averaging 4.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 16.8 minutes. Griffin also played one season in Italy and three seasons in the CBA with Connecticut.
A native of Wichita, Kan., Griffin was a three-year starter at Seton Hall and as a senior won All-Big East Second Team honors after averaging 16.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.
Maurice Cheeks | Assistant Coach
Maurice Cheeks is set to begin his second year of his second stint on Oklahoma City’s coaching staff, bringing more than 30 years of NBA experience to the Thunder bench. Cheeks, who spent four seasons on the Thunder’s staff from 2009-2013, returns to Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons during the 2013-14 season. Overall, Cheeks has amassed a head coaching record of 305-315 (.492) with the Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers.
Before joining the Thunder in 2009, Cheeks served as head coach of the 76ers from 2005-2009, amassing a record of 122-147 and securing a playoff appearance in Philadelphia’s 2007-08 campaign. Prior to joining the Sixers, Cheeks spent three-plus seasons as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers (2001-05). During his time in Portland, he posted a 162-139 (.538) mark, accounting for the fourth-highest win total in Blazers coaching history. He helped the Blazers reach the NBA Playoffs twice, and his 2002-03 squad tied for second in the Pacific Division with a 50-32 record.
Preceding his work in Portland, Cheeks spent seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Sixers, working under head coaches John Lucas (1994-96), Johnny Davis (1996-97), and Larry Brown (1997-2001). In 2000-01 under Brown, Cheeks helped guide the 76ers to a record of 56-26 (.683) and a spot in the NBA Finals.
A 15-year NBA veteran, Cheeks retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in steals after playing with Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. He was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team five times (First Team: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986; Second Team: 1987) and played in four All-Star games (1983, 1986, 1987, 1988). A member of the 76ers’ 1983 World Championship team, Cheeks was honored by the club through having his number (10) retired.
As an NBA player, Cheeks compiled career averages of 11.1 ppg, 6.7 apg and 2.1 spg in 1,101 games while shooting .523 from the field and .793 from the free throw line. A native of Chicago, he began his coaching career with the Quad City Thunder of the CBA. In his only season with Quad City, Cheeks helped guide the club to the CBA Championship.
The 1978 West Texas State (currently West Texas A&M) graduate was a four-year starter and three-time MVP in college. He finished his collegiate career third on the Buffs’ all-time scoring list, averaging 16.8 points per game while shooting 56.8 percent from the field as a senior. Cheeks was selected in the second round of the 1978 NBA Draft (36th overall by the Sixers).
Mark Bryant | Assistant Coach
Mark Bryant is set to enter his tenth season as a Thunder assistant coach. During July of 2012, Bryant served as Head Coach of the Thunder’s summer league team.
Prior to joining the Thunder’s coaching staff, Bryant served as assistant coach/player development with the Orlando Magic from 2005-07.
Before his time in Orlando, Bryant spent the 2004-05 season with the Dallas Mavericks as a member of its player development staff.
Bryant enjoyed a 15-year playing career as the New Jersey native was a member of 10 different teams during his NBA playing tenure (1988-2003). Originally selected by Portland in the first round (21st pick overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft, Bryant helped the Blazers reach the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He appeared in 797 regular season games during his NBA career with Portland, Houston, Phoenix, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Denver and Boston, averaging 5.4 ppg and 3.8 rpg in 16.9 mpg. Bryant also appeared in 79 career playoff games, averaging 3.5 ppg and 2.5 rpg in 12.2 mpg.
Bryant was a First Team All-Big East selection as a senior at Seton Hall in 1987-88, averaging 20.5 ppg and 9.1 rpg for the Pirates. The 6-9 forward led the school to it’s first-ever berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Darko Rajakovic | Assistant Coach
Darko Rajakovic (RYE-ahk-oe-vich) enters his fifth season with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization and third as assistant coach. A Serbian native, Rajakovic spent his first two seasons with the organization as head coach of the Tulsa 66ers. Rajakovic became the first head coach born outside of North America in NBA D-League history. The 36-year-old boasts a diverse coaching background with an emphasis in player development.
Rajakovic holds a career NBA D-League record of 51-49. During his two seasons with the 66ers, Tulsa has been assigned seven players from Oklahoma City a total of 50 times (the most in the league during that stretch).
Rajakovic has also seen five of his 66ers players receive NBA GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, including four to the Thunder (Grant Jerrett, Daniel Orton, Mustafa Shakur and Reggie Williams). He coached 11 Tulsa players over the past two years who were on an NBA roster in the 2013-14 season.
Prior to joining the 66ers, Rajakovic had spent the previous three years as the head coach of Espacio Torrelodones of the Spanish EBA League.
Rajakovic began his coaching career at 16 years old with BC Borac Cacak in Cacak, Serbia where he coached the club to two national tournaments.
Rajakovic received a basketball coaching degree from the Belgrade Basketball Academy in 2004 and a degree in sports management from BK University in Belgrade in 2006. Rajakovic speaks Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian languages as native, but is also fluent in English, Spanish and basic Greek.
Vin Bhavnani | Assistant Coach
Bhavnani, an eight-year veteran of the club, has spent the past six seasons as its Manager of Advanced Scouting/Player Development after starting his career as the team’s Video Coordinator. Prior to joining the Thunder he spent two seasons as a video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs. Bhavnani started his NBA career as a video intern with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Los Angeles, Calif., native spent one season as an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team at Santa Monica Junior College after graduating from the University of Southern California in 2003.
Royal Ivey | Assistant Coach
Ivey is being elevated to assistant coach after serving last season as a player development assistant with the Thunder.
After a four-year collegiate career at the University of Texas, Ivey enjoyed a 10-year NBA playing career in which he appeared in 492 games (114 starts) and averaged 3.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Ivey’s coaching career began during the 2014-15 season where he served as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s D-League affiliate.
Billy Schmidt | Quality Control Coach
Billy Schmidt is set to begin his second season with the Thunder as a quality control coach after spending the past two decades coaching at the collegiate level.
Most recently, Schmidt spent the 2014-15 season at the University of Florida where he served under Billy Donovan as assistant to the head coach.
Before making the move to Gainesville, Schmidt spent the prior three seasons at Georgia Tech and eight seasons at the University of Dayton.
During his tenure at Dayton, Schmidt was named associate head coach prior to the start of the 2009-10 season. This came shortly after Schmidt was voted the Atlantic 10’s top assistant coach in a poll of league coaches. During his eight seasons with Dayton, Schmidt helped lead the Flyers to 172 victories, two NCAA Tournament appearances and three NIT berths.
Schmidt moved to Dayton after nine seasons coaching in the SEC, Big East and Big Ten. Schmidt enjoyed a pair of coaching stops under Tommy Amaker at Seton Hall and Michigan.
Prior to Seton Hall, Schmidt worked under former head coach Kevin O’Neill at Northwestern, where he was an assistant coach from 1997-2000, and at Tennessee from 1994-97. Schmidt joined the Volunteer staff as an administrative assistant in 1994 and was promoted to an assistant coach in 1996.
A native of Stamford, Conn., Schmidt began his coaching career in the high school ranks, serving as an assistant coach to Steve Smith at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, for two years (1992-94). During his tenure, Oak Hill won back-to-back national championships.
Schmidt graduated with honors from Wake Forest in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education. While at Wake Forest, Schmidt was a manager and coaches’ aide for the Demon Deacons program for four years (1988-92). He holds a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from the University of Tennessee.