Bucks Announce Coaching and Athletic Training Staff Additions

General Manager John Hammond announced today that Jim Cleamons, Scott Williams and Josh Oppenheimer will complete Larry Drew’s coaching staff as assistant coaches. They join Bob Bender and Nick Van Exel, who were named to Drew’s coaching staff earlier in the summer. In addition, Scott Barthlama has been named head athletic trainer, Chris McKenzie has been named director of physical therapy and athletic trainer, and Robert Hackett has been named strength and conditioning coach. 

“I’m excited to be able to assemble this strong coaching staff in Milwaukee,” said Drew. “Jim, Scott and Josh all bring their unique experiences to the Bucks bench as well as diverse coaching skills. I’m pleased to have our staff, including assistant coaches Bob Bender and Nick Van Exel, together as we prepare for the upcoming season.”


Jim Cleamons brings over 30 years of NBA experience and 10 NBA Championships to the Bucks bench. His most recent coaching assignment came in the Chinese Basketball Association with Zhejiang Guangsha, after spending much of the previous two decades assisting on Phil Jackson’s staffs with both the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. As a member of the Bulls coaching staff from 1989-96, Cleamons helped lead Chicago to four NBA titles in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996, with the Bulls compiling a record of 414-160 (.721) over that span. He also teamed with Jackson on the Lakers bench from 1999-2004 and again from 2006-2011, with Los Angeles earning five more championships in that time frame (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010).

In addition to his time as assistant under Jackson, Cleamons also served as the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks during the 1996-97 season, and as an assistant under Byron Scott in New Orleans from 2004-2006. He also spent the 1998-99 season as the head coach of the Chicago Condors professional women’s team that played in the now defunct American Basketball League.


A 15-year NBA veteran and three-time NBA Champion with the Chicago Bulls, Scott Williams spent the 2012-13 season as an assistant coach to for the Idaho Stampede of the D-League. As a player, he appeared in 746 career games with the Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, holding career averages of 5.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game. Williams appeared in 94 playoff games in eight postseason appearances, including 17 games with Milwaukee in its run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001.

Williams’ playing career spanned from 1990, signing with Chicago after a four-year college career at the University of North Carolina (1986-90), until 2005, playing his final season with the Cavaliers. Williams transitioned to a career in television, broadcasting games as an analyst for the Cavs for two seasons prior to joining the Bucks television broadcast team for the 2007-08 season. From 2008-12, Williams was the television color analyst for the Phoenix Suns.


Josh Oppenheimer begins his first season as an NBA assistant coach/player development, coming to the Bucks with over 30 years of basketball playing, coaching and skill development training experience. Oppenheimer played collegiately at the University of Rhode Island and later Northern Arizona before embarking on a professional career in the United States and Europe, including six seasons with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He has coaching experience in the college ranks at Duquesne, Delaware, DePaul and Kent State, and most recently ran his own basketball skill training company, Excel Basketball.



Head Athletic Trainer Scott Barthlama begins his sixth season with the Bucks and first in his current role. He spent the previous five years as the assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning coach in Milwaukee.

Prior to joining the Bucks, Barthlama spent 10 seasons on Northwestern University’s athletic training staff, where he was a certified athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach for men’s basketball along with men’s and women’s golf.

He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology as well as secondary physical education and received his Master of Science degree in athletic medicine from the University of Oregon. Barthlama is a member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), and is a performance enhancement specialist and a corrective exercise specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).


Chris McKenzie joins the Bucks as the Director of Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainer. He has over 25 years of experience working in the field of sports medicine, most recently at The Ohio State University. He served as an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Orthopedics, as well as a clinical instructor in the School of Allied Medical Professions, Division of Physical Therapy.

His rehabilitation experience includes working with athletes from the NBA, NFL, MLB, USFL and Olympic programs, as well as all levels of collegiate and amateur sports. He also has professional baseball experience conducting research for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians.

He received his bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Ohio University and his Masters of Health Science, orthopedic physical therapy, from Indianapolis University (IN). In 2007, McKenzie was honored as the “Outstanding Physical Therapist of the Year” by the Ohio Physical Therapy Association.


Milwaukee native Robert Hackett joins the Bucks as head strength and conditioning coach after serving in a similar role with the Dallas Mavericks for 11 seasons, including the NBA Championship season in 2011. From 1995-2002, Hackett was the strength and conditioning coach for the Memphis Grizzlies. Prior to his work in the NBA, he designed and directed the strength and conditioning programs at the University of Wisconsin for the men’s and women’s basketball, football and track teams. He also served as an assistant track coach for three years for the Badgers. Hackett graduated from the University of Wisconsin and competed for the Badger track team where he was NCAA Champion in the 100 and 200 meter races and a three-time USA Olympic Trial Qualifier.


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