Grizzlies 2019-20 Coaching Staff
College - Pennsylvania
Taylor Jenkins enters his first season as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies after being named to the position on June 11, 2019.
Jenkins comes to Memphis after serving last season as an assistant coach under two-time NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer with the Milwaukee Bucks, helping guide the team to the NBA’s best regular season record (60-22), a trip to the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and the league’s highest-scoring offense (118.1 points per game). He was an assistant coach for Team Giannis in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
Before joining the Bucks, Jenkins spent five seasons (2013-18) as an assistant coach under Budenholzer with the Atlanta Hawks, where he helped coach the team to four postseason appearances, including the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. He was an assistant coach for the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star Team.
Jenkins’ previous experience includes one season (2012-13) as head coach of the Austin Toros (now Spurs), the NBA G League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, where he led the team to the NBA G League Playoffs. Jenkins had spent four seasons (2008-12) as an assistant coach with the Toros, working under head coaches Quin Snyder and Brad Jones, and was a member of the club’s 2012 championship team and playoff runs in 2009 and 2010. He interned with San Antonio’s basketball operations department during the 2007-08 season.
Jenkins attended The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics while concentrating in Management and minoring in Psychology. He and his wife, Chantall, have three sons and one daughter.
College - Notre Dame
Niele Ivey enters her first season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach for head coach Taylor Jenkins following 12 seasons (2007-19) on the sidelines at her alma mater of Notre Dame, where she was the recruiting coordinator beginning in 2012 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2015 for the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program under head coach Muffet McGraw. Ivey is the ninth active female coach in the NBA.
During her time on the sidelines, Ivey helped guide Notre Dame to a 385-55 (.875) record, including seven NCAA Women’s Final Four berths, six NCAA title game appearances, a 2018 national championship and 13 conference championships.
One of the most successful figures in program history, Ivey is the common link between all nine of the school’s Final Four appearances (seven as a coach, two as a player). She earned AP All-America Third Team honors, the first Fighting Irish point guard to be so recognized, and was the recipient of the 2001 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as a senior while leading Notre Dame to its first national title.
Following her collegiate playing career, Ivey played five seasons in the WNBA before joining Xavier University for two seasons (2005-07) as an administrative assistant on the women’s basketball staff.
A native of St. Louis, Ivey graduated from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in history.
College - Lambuth
Brad Jones begins his second season in the Memphis Grizzlies organization and his first as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins. Jones served as head coach of the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ NBA G League affiliate, during the 2018-19 season, leading the club to its first playoff appearance and victory during its run to the 2019 Western Conference Semifinal round.
Prior to joining the Grizzlies organization, Jones served as General Manager of the NBA G League’s Iowa Wolves and as a pro scout for the NBA parent club, the Minnesota Timberwolves, from 2016-18. Jones won an NBA G League championship in 2012 as head coach of the then Austin Toros (now Spurs) and also led the Utah Flash to the 2009 NBA G League Finals. In five combined seasons with the two teams (Utah, 2007-10; Austin, 2010-12), Jones compiled a 148-118 (.556) record, submitting a winning record for both teams and winning two Western Conference titles. Jones still owns Austin’s franchise record for wins in a regular season (33).
Jones’ experience also extends to the NBA coaching ranks, spending four seasons with the Utah Jazz (2012-16) where he worked his way from assistant coach for player development to Quin Snyder’s lead assistant coach for his final two seasons in Salt Lake City.
Jones began his coaching career in 1990 at his alma mater of Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee and served as the Eagles’ head coach from 1996-2001. As a senior at Lambuth, he was the captain of the basketball team and was named the school’s Male Athlete of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year. He earned his master’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Memphis.
Jones and his wife Lori have three children: Justin, Isabella and Jackson.
College - Duke
David McClure begins his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins.
McClure joins the Grizzlies after spending three seasons (2016-19) under head coach Nate McMillan as an assistant coach leading the player development department for the Indiana Pacers, where he was a part of three straight playoff appearances in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He spent two previous seasons (2014-16) as a player development quality assurance assistant for the San Antonio Spurs, where he
worked with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
A graduate of Duke University, the Connecticut native played five years (2004-09) for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and was a member of the Blue Devils’ ACC title teams in 2005, 2006 and 2009.
After leaving Duke, McClure played the 2009-10 season with the NBA G League’s Austin Toros (now Spurs) and was coached by Jenkins, who was an assistant in Austin under current Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. He also played professionally for four years (2010-14) in the Lithuanian Basketball League.
College - Wright State
Vitaly Potapenko begins his second season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach and his first on the sidelines with head coach Taylor Jenkins.
Before joining the Grizzlies prior to the 2018-19 season, Potapenko served five seasons (2013-18) as the assistant director of player development for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Prior to his time in Cleveland, Potapenko spent one season (2012-13) as an assistant coach with the NBA G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors, helping guide the team to its first G League Finals appearance. He also was as an assistant coach for the Dakota Wizards during the 2011-12 season before the franchise relocated to Santa Cruz.
Potapenko served an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers during the 2010-11 season after serving as an assistant coach for the G League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants in 2009-10.
Selected by Cleveland with the 12th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Potapenko appeared in 610 games (189 starts) with four teams and averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.0 minutes over 11 seasons (1996-2007).
Before playing in the NBA, Potapenko played for Budivelnyk (Ukraine) from 1992-1994 and finished his career playing for MMT Estudiantes in the Spanish ACB during the 2007-2008 season. Nicknamed “The Ukraine Train,” the Kiev native played two seasons collegiately at Wright State University where he was named All-Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
Neven Spahija enters his first season on the sidelines with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach under head coach Taylor Jenkins.
A Croatia native and former Croatian Coach of the Year during his nearly 30 years of international experience, Spahija served as head coach for Maccabi Tel Aviv before joining the Grizzlies. Spahija guided Maccabi Tel Aviv to the 2018 Israeli League championship, his second Israeli League title (2007), in his final full season with the club.
Spahija worked alongside Jenkins for three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks as assistant coaches under Mike Budenholzer. During his time in Atlanta, Spahija helped lead the Hawks to a 151-95 record and a trip to the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals. He also served as an assistant coach for the 2015 Eastern Conference All-Star Team.
Spahija has won eight domestic league titles in six countries – Slovenia, Croatia, Lithuania, Spain, Israel and Turkey – and has been a head coach in Russia and Italy. He won the 2009-10 Eurocup with Valencia (Spain), reached the finals of the 2003 ULEB Cup with Krka (Slovenia) and the 2008 Euroleague Final Four with Tau Ceramica (Spain).
He also has spent time as head coach of the Croatian National team (2001-05) and the Under-22 National Team that took the silver medal at the 2001 FIBA Under-22 World Championships.
College - Ohio State
James “Scoonie” Penn enters his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach for head coach Taylor Jenkins following two seasons (2017-19) as director of player development at his alma mater of The Ohio State University.
Penn originally attended Boston College where he was named the 1995-96 Big East Rookie of the Year and selected to the 1996-97 All-Big East First Team. He then transferred to Ohio State, where he was named the 1998-99 Big Ten Player of the Year and led the Buckeyes to the 1999 NCAA Final Four.
A two-time All-American and All-Big Ten selection while at Ohio State, Penn scored 1,076 points for the Buckeyes, and his 123 points scored in NCAA Tournament play rank seventh in program history.
Voted into The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, the Massachusetts native was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft and enjoyed an 11-year professional career in Europe.