Blazers Hire Terry Stotts As Head Coach

Blazers coach Terry Stotts dressed up for 1970s night during his time with the Atlanta Hawks. Picture via www.slamonline.com

The Portland Trail Blazers announced the hiring of Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts as their next head coach on Tuesday afternoon. Stotts will be introduced to the media on Wednesday afternoon.

Stotts, 54, was a head coach for the Atlanta Hawks from 2002-2004 and the Milwaukee Bucks from 2005-2007. He holds a career coaching record of 115-168. He made the playoffs with the Bucks in 2006 but Milwaukee was eliminated in the first round in five games. A member of the George Karl coaching tree, Stotts previously served as an assistant coach for the Bucks, Hawks, Seattle SuperSonics, and Golden State Warriors.

Stotts was reportedly one of two finalists for the position along with Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales, who took over for former head coach Nate McMillan, who was fired back in March.

Both Stotts and Canales reportedly met with Blazers owner Paul Allen in London last week. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports on Twitter that Canales "will remain with the Blazers in some capacity." Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports on Twitter that retaining Canales on the coaching staff was a "pre-condition" of hiring Stotts. Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported later on Twitter that Blazers GM Neil Olshey has confirmed that Canales "will remain on Blazers staff as an assistant coach."

Here's Stotts' NBA.com biography. As Timmay! recently noted, Stotts was previously a finalist for the Blazers head coaching position back in 2001, but the job went to Maurice Cheeks.

Here's the team's press release.

The Portland Trail Blazers have named Terry Stotts as the team's head coach, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey. Stotts becomes the 14th head coach in Trail Blazers history.

An 18-year coaching veteran, Stotts most recently served as an assistant coach with Dallas for four seasons from 2008-12. Under head coach Rick Carlisle, Stotts helped lead the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA Championship.

"Terry is one of the elite offensive minds in the NBA, has extensive experience with multiple organizations and was instrumental in the Dallas Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA Championship, said Olshey. "He understands the vision for the future of the franchise, appreciates the process involved and will create an environment on the court that will produce championship habits."

Stotts, 54, has twice served as an NBA head coach, with two-year stints in both Milwaukee (2005-07) and Atlanta (2002-04). He has compiled an overall head coaching record of 115-168 (.406).

"I'm very pleased to be a part of a great franchise in a beautiful city with such a proud history," said Stotts. "I look forward to working hard with Neil and our players toward the ultimate goal of bringing another championship to Portland."

During his two seasons with Milwaukee, Stotts guided the Bucks to a 63-83 (.432) mark, including a playoff appearance in 2006. Stotts replaced Lon Kruger as head coach of the Hawks on Dec. 26, 2002, and accumulated a record of 52-85 (.380) in two seasons with Atlanta.

In between head coaching positions, Stotts worked as the lead assistant to Mike Montgomery at Golden State during the 2004-05 season.

Before becoming a head coach, Stotts served as an assistant under George Karl for 10 years, six with Seattle and four with Milwaukee. Those teams reached the postseason in nine of 10 seasons, including Seattle's NBA Finals appearance in 1996.

A four-year starter at the University of Oklahoma, Stotts was selected by Houston in the second round of the 1980 NBA Draft. He played professionally for several seasons in Europe and with the CBA's Montana Golden Nuggets, coached by Karl.

A native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Stotts grew up in Illinois, Wisconsin, Guam and finished high school in Bloomington, Indiana. Stotts is married to his wife, Jan.

Prior to the final round of cuts, the Blazers had also considered Phoenix Suns assistant Elston Turner and former Orlando Magic assistant Steve Clifford.

Stotts was strongly endorsed by Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle in recent statements to John Canzano of The Oregonian.

"Of all the coaches presently in play, Terry is by far the best available," Carlisle said. "He's a professional and understands the process of NBA coaching and how to communicate and teach young players."

"Of all the assistants I've had," Carlisle said, "Terry has the best overall feel for the game and a very creative mind offensively."

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl offered this reaction on Twitter: "Happy to see the game give a second chance to a first-class mind and person. Do it right, Coach Stotts!"

Although the video has since been nuked, Stotts made headlines when he was thrown to the court by Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes during a March 2011 in-game skirmish that eventually led to a 1-game suspension for Barnes. The Orange County Register has a picture. Afterwards, Stotts offered no comment to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.

Update: Here's the video via @SenorTrey and YouTube user MrHasnicktir. Fast-forward to the 2:00 mark.

Thanks to eastwind in the FanShots as well.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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