Phoenix Suns hire former sharpshooter Jeff Hornacek as head coach

jeff-hornacekJeff Hornacek agreed to terms with the Phoenix Suns to become their new head coach and will sign the three-year contract by Monday morning, USA Today reported.

The Suns quickly acted after impressive interviews from Hornacek, the popular former Suns player who has been an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz. He was interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coaching job, and the Philadelphia 76ers also were interested in him.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the first team to hire a coach this offseason when they brought back Mike Brown, but the Suns were among six teams currently seeking a new coach with as many as three more expected to join that search.

Hornacek, 50, joined the Jazz as a shooting coach shortly before the 2007 playoffs and moved into a full-time assistant coach role in February of 2011 when Tyrone Corbin, his former Suns and Jazz teammate, took over the Jazz coaching job from Jerry Sloan. Hornacek was known for his work with Utah’s younger players.

His coaching style brings a lot of the intelligence that he was known for as a player and an even-keeled demeanor that can turn disciplinarian when necessary.

Hornacek kept a reduced role in coaching initially while his three kids (now in college or graduated) were growing up in Phoenix, where he and his wife, Stacy, kept the family home. Horancek is the brother-in-law of Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson. They attended Iowa State, where Hornacek was a walk-on and also has his No. 14 retired.

Hornacek will be the 16th head coach in Suns franchise history and the fifth since the 2007-08 season. Horancek was a finalist when the Suns chose Terry Porter in 2008 and a finalist with no bench experience for the Boston head coaching job in 2004 when Doc Rivers was hired.

Hornacek played most of his NBA career in Phoenix and Utah. A deadly shooter, he averaged career high 20.1 ppg for Phoenix back in 1991-92 season. He also appeared in the 1992 NBA All-Star game.

Hornacek joined the Jazz in 1993-94 season averaging double figures in scoring in all of his following seasons with the team.

During his last season with the Jazz, Hornacek shot 47 percent from 3-point range (2nd in NBA), and 95 percent from the free throw line (1st in NBA).

Hornacek appeared in 1077 NBA games (910 started), averaging 14.5 ppg, 4.9 apg in 31.5 minutes on the court.


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