In a move expected for the past week, the Phoenix Suns officially announced the hiring of Jeff Hornacek as the team's new head coach on Tuesday morning.
Hornacek, who turned 50 earlier this month, was drafted by the Suns in 1986, and played six years for the team before playing alongside John Stockton in the Utah Jazz backcourt. He retired from the NBA in 2000 and now becomes the Suns' 16th head coach in franchise history.
Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough, who was also hired into the organization in May after working in the front office of the Boston Celtics, said Hornacek's name has been "high on our list ever since my first interview with the Suns," and spoke to his success as a player and assistant coach:
"We are thrilled to introduce Jeff Hornacek as the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns. 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."Hornacek, who served as an assistant coach with the Jazz since 2007, had also interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats' head coaching position, which has since been filled by Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford. The Suns parted ways with head coach Alvin Gentry in January, finishing the season with a 25-57 record, good for last place in the Western Conference. Phoenix now has the No. 5 pick in June's NBA Draft, a crucial step in Hornacek and McDonough's pursuit of rebuilding a roster struggling for wins.