Former Washington Wizard Rod Strickland named head coach at Long Island University

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Former Wizard Rod Strickland named head coach at LIU originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

One of the best players from the end of the Washington Bullets era and the beginning of the Wizards era is headed to the Empire State.

Rod Strickland has been named the head coach for the Long Island University Sharks on Thursday, the school announced.

“Rod Strickland has a demonstrated eye for recruiting and developing student-athletes and we are confident he will elevate Long Island University's winning tradition to even greater heights,” said university president Kimberly R. Cline via a press release.

Strickland, 55, played five seasons for Washington from 1996-2001, during which time the team transitioned from the Bullets to the Wizards. In D.C., Strickland enjoyed the best years of his career as the team’s starting point guard, averaging 15.5 points, 8.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Strickland elevated the Bullets to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons during his first year in Washington, and would later claim the NBA assist title and be named to the All-NBA Second Team in 1998.

Strickland retired in 2005 but would stay involved with basketball as he transitioned to coaching and administrative roles, beginning with a stint as the director of basketball operations at the University of Memphis. He’d go on to serve an administrative role at Kentucky and as an assistant coach at South Florida before undertaking his most recent role: director of the NBA G-League’s professional path program.

“Developing young players on and off the court has always aligned with my passion while I was playing and after retiring from the NBA,” Strickland said. “The Sharks are going to be a competing program for top athletes who not only want to take their game to the next level but prepare for success.”

Strickland undertakes the LIU job after the Sharks finished third in the Northeastern Conference last year with a 16-14 record, third in the conference. Before that, they finished bottom-five in the NEC for three consecutive seasons.