US basketball

Stan Van Gundy agrees to coach Zion, Pelicans

Agence France-Presse
TV analyst Stan Van Gundy returns to his coaching roots to mentor a young Pelicans squad bannered by star rookie Zion Williamson

Stan Van Gundy, who spent 12 years as an NBA coach before becoming a television analyst, said Wednesday, October 21, he has agreed to terms to coach the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 61-year-old American, whose brother Jeff also served as an NBA coach before starting a TV commentary career, replaces Alvin Gentry, who was fired in August after serving as coach of the Pelicans for 5 seasons.

“I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team,” Van Gundy tweeted. “It will be an honor to work with our players… I can’t wait to talk to our players and get the process started.”

Van Gundy coached the Miami Heat from 2003 to December 2005 when he resigned after an 11-10 start to a campaign in which Pat Riley took over and coached the Heat to an NBA title.

In 2007, Van Gundy took over the Orlando Magic and guided them to the 2009 NBA Finals, but first-round exits in 2011 and 2012 led to his firing after 5 seasons.

In 2014, he was named coach of the Detroit Pistons, but the club missed the playoffs in 3 of his 4 seasons on the bench and he was fired in May 2018.

The Pelicans, sparked by star rookie Zion Williamson, went 30-42 last season. The team started 6-22 and struggled through a 13-game losing skid while Williamson missed 44 games due to knee surgery.

The Pelicans boast a young lineup and have a host of future NBA Draft selections yet to come after trading Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Van Gundy’s teams have a history of tough defensive work. He has a 523-384 record as an NBA head coach. –

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