We are thrilled to introduce Jeff Hornacek as the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Jeff has all of the qualities we were looking for in a head coach—he is a leader, a teacher and a student of the game. Jeff's name has been high on our list ever since my first interview with the Suns. His successes as a player and as an assistant coach, along with his deep ties to this franchise and this community, give us confidence that he will do great things as the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns.”
Paul Coro of AZCentral.com first reported the news on his blog:
Jeff Hornacek agreed to terms with the Suns to become their new head coach and will sign the three-year contract by Monday morning.
The Suns quickly acted after impressive interviews from Hornacek, the popular former Suns player who has been an assistant coach for Utah. He was interviewed in Charlotte for its head coaching job and Philadelphia also was interested in him.
Hornacek spent the first six years of his playing career with the Suns, from 1986 to 1992. His last year with the club was the best of his career; he finished with an average of 20.1 points, 5.1 assists and five rebounds per game.
The position became available in Phoenix when the organization decided to fire Alvin Gentry in January after a 13-28 start. Lindsey Hunter took over on an interim basis, but he was unable to fare much better as the squad finished with a 25-57 record, worst in the Western Conference.
While the Suns did not come into the year with high expectations after losing Steve Nash in the offseason, there still was a decent amount of talent on the roster, including Goran Dragic and Luis Scola.
If the organization can add a top-tier talent with the No. 5 pick in the NBA draft and possibly make some smart moves in free agency, this rebuilding team should expect a great deal of improvement next season.
Hornacek will have a lot to prove with little experience on the bench. However, the 50-year-old coach will have every opportunity to turn this struggling franchise around.