Rivers Assembles Impressive Staff

by Lauren Rosen

When Doc Rivers took the 76ers’ head coaching job just over a month ago, one of his top priorities was assembling the perfect coaching staff.

That perfect staff, he said, would bring a diverse range of experiences and perspectives.

With that group now assembled,  Rivers is thrilled.

“I love my staff,” Rivers said. “And I like what we’re doing behind the bench as well. I love where we’re at as a staff.”

Per Monday’s official announcement, Rivers’ staff in his first season at the Sixers’ helm includes bench assistants Dave Joerger, Sam Cassell, Dan Burke, along with assistant coaches Popeye Jones, Eric Hughes, and Brian Adams. The team also named Pete Dominguez as coaching associate and Todor Pandov as assistant coach/performance director.

Prior to the announcement, Rivers described the ideal candidates for his staff:

“I have always tried to find the smartest people possible in the field that I’m looking for in coaching. I’ve never cared about if we have had a past relationship, but I want to make sure that they’re loyal hard workers.”

“You have to be a fighter to be on my staff,” Rivers added. “If you are somebody who’s telling me what I want to hear, it’s not going to work on my staff. I want live debate. I do. I’m going to challenge you, I’m going to disagree with you sometimes. I need guys to tell me the truth.”

The staff boasts a variety of backgrounds and credentials. Get to know the coaching cohort a bit better...

Dave Joerger joins the 76ers following a three year tenure as the head coach of the Sacramento Kings. He spent his previous three years as the Grizzlies’ head coach (including a trip to the conference semifinals in 2015), following experience in the G League (and then-D League).

Sam Cassell has been on Rivers’ staff for the last six seasons as an assistant coach with the Clippers. Prior to his coaching career, Cassell played for Rivers as a member of the Boston Celtics from 2008 until 2009. Cassell’s decorated playing career includes three NBA championships (including 2008 alongside Rivers), and an All-Star nod in 2004.

“Sam, I’m sick and tired of,” Rivers said with a laugh. “But he’s been with me for a long time - I coached Sam, and now he’s been a coach with me.”

Dan Burke boasts over 30 years of NBA experience, spending the last 22 seasons with the Indiana Pacers, a tenure that included a trip to the NBA Finals. Burke also spent eight seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Popeye Jones also joins the Sixers from Indiana, where he held an assistant coach seat since 2013. Prior to his first NBA coaching stop in Brooklyn (and New Jersey), Jones spent over a decade in the NBA, playing for six teams, and retiring in 2004.

Eric Hughes spent last season as one of the Sixers’ player development coaches. His NBA experience includes an impressive list of Eastern Conference contenders, spending time Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Toronto.

Brian Adams also comes to the Sixers via the LA Clippers, after coaching the Clippers’ G League Affiliate Agua Caliente Clippers for the past two seasons. Adams worked for the Celtics’ front office under Rivers in 2007-08 as the team’s video coordinator, and coached NCAA hoops at Harvard and Marist prior to joining the Clippers.

Pete Dominguez arrives in Philadelphia following five seasons in the Clippers’ video room, and the past two seasons as the team’s head video coordinator.

Todor Pandov returns for his sixth season with the Sixers, spending his last five with the strength and conditioning department.

“After taking this job, one of my top priorities was forming the best staff in the NBA,” Rivers said. “I’m thrilled with the way it came together as this group boasts years of valuable NBA experience, both playing and coaching, and each member brings a championship-level mindset to the table. I’m confident in my staff’s ability to best support our players and look forward to getting into the lab with our team as soon as we get the green light.”

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