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NEW YORK, June 2, 2016 – New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has hired Jeff Hornacek, becoming the 28th head coach in the franchise’s 70-year history in the National Basketball Association.
“Jeff has a tremendous basketball acumen and possesses strong leadership skills,” Jackson said. “During his career as both a player and coach, he has demonstrated the ability to elevate the game.”
Hornacek, 53, most recently led the Phoenix Suns as its head coach over parts of three seasons from 2013 through 2016, while engineering a 23-win improvement and a 48-34 record in his first year leading the organization, becoming the runner-up in the 2014 NBA Coach of the Year voting. He became just the third person in NBA history to be named both Player and Coach of the Month over the course of their career (December 1991, December 2013). He concluded his Phoenix coaching career with a 101-112 (.474) overall record.
"I am extremely excited and honored to be the next coach of such an historic franchise,” Hornacek said. "I look forward to working with Phil - a coach and teacher of the game I have admired for many years - and collaborating with him and our staff to take this team to the level that Knicks fans expect."
The Elmhurst, Ill-native, began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz under head coaches Jerry Sloan and Tyrone Corbin from 2010-11 through 2012-13 following an illustrious 14-year playing career. Hornacek averaged 14.5 points and 4.9 assists with Phoenix, Philadelphia and Utah, while his teams qualified for the NBA Playoffs 11 times. As a member of the Suns, Hornacek represented the Western Conference in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando and is a two-time Three-Point Shootout champion (1998, 2000) as a member of the Jazz. He appeared in 140 career playoff games, including back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals with the Jazz in 1997 and 1998. On Nov. 19, 2002, the Jazz retired jersey No. 14 in his honor. Over those 14 seasons, he was under the tutelage of some of the all-time greats including: John MacLeod, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Doug Moe and Jerry Sloan. Hornacek was originally selected in the second round (46th overall) of the 1986 NBA Draft, following a four-year playing career at Iowa State University, which he began as a freshman walk-on.