June 8, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have hired Monty Williams as the ninth head coach in franchise history. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.
“We wanted to make sure we interviewed all of the top candidates to get the best available coach on the market,” Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower said. “We feel like we succeeded with that objective and now that we have Monty on board, we can concentrate on helping him thrive by continuing to do whatever it takes to make this team better. Monty has all the qualities that we are looking for in a new head coach.”
“I am honored for this opportunity to be the Hornets head coach,” Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams said. “I have been fortunate to be around this game as a player and an assistant coach. I have had the privilege to play for and coach alongside some of the best coaches in this league. The Hornets have a first-class organization and team; this is the perfect opportunity for me. I am very excited to get started in New Orleans.”
Williams, a native of Fredericksburg, Va., comes to the Hornets after five seasons as the assistant coach under Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers. During his time with the Blazers, he helped the team compile a 198-210 (.483) record. Known as one of the most promising young coaches in the NBA, Williams has been a key asset in developing some of the Blazers young talent. Over the last three seasons, the Blazers have compiled a record of 145-101 (.589), including two straight playoff appearances. A former swingman in the NBA, Williams is largely credited for the development of the young Blazers swingmen Nicholas Batum and Martell Webster, as well as former Blazer and current Los Angeles Clipper Travis Outlaw. Williams served as the head coach for the Blazers summer league team in the NBA Summer League in 2007 and 2008.
“Monty is an outstanding teacher, motivator of the game and one of the brightest young coaches in the NBA,” said Hornets President Hugh Weber. “His former coaches, who are among the best in the NBA, speak very highly of Monty. He teaches from experience and is a great developer of talent. We are extremely excited to add him to the Hornets family.”
Williams spent one season as a coaching intern under Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs during the 2004-05, helping the Spurs capture the NBA Championship that season. He was the head coach for the Spurs summer league entry team in the 2005 Rocky Mountain Revue.
“I am thrilled to have Coach Williams as our head coach and this season cannot get here fast enough,” Hornets point guard Chris Paul said. “He is one of the great young coaches in this league. Being a former player, he knows firsthand how the league works and he has played with and worked for some of the great talents in the NBA. I am really excited to be along in his first head coaching journey; he is a perfect fit for our team.”
Williams played in the NBA for 10 seasons before chronic knee problems forced him into retirement in 2003. Selected by the New York Knicks in the first round (24th pick overall) of the 1994 NBA Draft out of Notre Dame, Williams played for the Knicks, Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. His best season was with the Spurs in 1996-97, when he averaged 9.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 65 games. Williams averaged 6.3 points in 456 career games.
Williams was an honorable mention All-American at Notre Dame after averaging 22.4 points and 8.4 rebounds during his senior season. He spent two years away from basketball (1990-1992) during college after being diagnosed with hypertropic cardiomyopathy, a rare condition of thickened muscle between the chambers of the heart. He earned a degree from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, majoring in communications and theatre.