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Bobcats announce Clifford as coach

The SportsXchange

The Charlotte Bobcats confirmed Wednesday that the team has filled its head coaching position, announcing the hiring of Steve Clifford.

A longtime NBA assistant, Clifford was with the Los Angeles Lakers this season after spending the previous five years with the Orlando Magic. Earlier this week, multiple reports indicated that Clifford agreed to a three-year contract with the Bobcats,

"We are excited to have Steve Clifford as our new head coach," said Rod Higgins, president of basketball operations. "He brings a strong pedigree and a track record of success to our franchise.

"He has built a reputation as an innovator, especially defensively, and has experience in multiple systems. We look forward to utilizing his knowledge as we continue to build this team."

Clifford, who becomes the sixth coach in franchise history, has coached under the Van Gundys, first with Jeff from 2003 to 2007 with the Houston Rockets and then with Stan in Orlando. He also worked as an advance scout and assistant for the New York Knicks and as head coach at NCAA Division II Adelphi University.

"He's a brilliant basketball coach who relates to all kinds of people well and I think he will do an absolutely fantastic job with the talent at hand," said Jeff Van Gundy, now a broadcaster for ESPN. "I'm so happy for one of the good guys in the league to get this opportunity."

The Charlotte job will be Clifford's first in the NBA as a head coach. He replaces Mike Dunlap, who was fired in April after the Bobcats posted a 21-61 record in his only season as coach.

Clifford was reportedly headed for a second interview with the Milwaukee Bucks when the Bobcats offered him the job.

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