Newly hired Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce celebrated his 42nd birthday on Friday and made his first public appearance as the team’s coach on earlier this week in Brookhaven at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex. Talk about having a great week.
The Atlanta Hawks hired Pierce late last week and both parties made the union public on Monday morning in front of friends, family and Hawks staffers, including hall of fame forward and team play-by-play announcer Dominique Wilkins, the other half of the Hawks television team Bob Rathbun, who MC’ed the press conference and Hawks players Kent Bazemore, De’Andre Bembry, Isaiah Taylor and Mike Muscala who sat in the front row.
Upon being introduced to the media and crowd in attendance, that also included Pierce’s pregnant wife (the couple is due in the fall), Pierce spoke candidly about the Hawks head coaching position.
“The opportunity was one that I couldn’t pass up,” said Pierce from a stage set up on the Hawks practice court at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex in Brookhaven. “I’d like to think that I’m the right person for the job.”
Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk and Pierce briefly worked together in Golden State while Pierce was an assistant coach and Schlenk was the Warriors vice president of basketball operations.
“We wanted somebody with a strong track record who could coach our young players,” Schlenk said on hiring Pierce over a number of candidates.
“Every stop he made,” said Schlenk of Pierce, “he was a major part of the player development.”
That compliment can be highlighted the most by the five seasons Pierce most recently spent in Philadelphia under current head coach Brett Brown. The 76ers now famous “Trust the Process” motto is something Hawks fans hope will be a part of the Lloyd Pierce era in Atlanta.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for coach Brown. He empowered me,” Pierce said about his time under Brown as an assistant.
Pierce worked as an assistant in the NBA for the past 11 years including stints with Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2007-2010, a season in Golden State for the 2010-2011 season, in Memphis for two seasons and most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers from 2013 till this past playoff run to the second round where the 76ers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in four games.
Pierce’s contract with the Hawks is for three years with a team option for a fourth.
Pierce will be coaching the Hawks team at the NBA Summer League in Salt Lake City before taking time off for the birth of his child before the start of the season.