Pelicans Hire Stan Van Gundy as Head Coach

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The Pelicans hired Stan Van Gundy as their new head coach on Wednesday, Van Gundy confirmed on Twitter.

Van Gundy, 61, last coached in 2017-18 when he concluded a four-year stint with the Detroit Pistons. He sports a 523–384 career record across 12 seasons, including five years with the Magic. 

Van Gundy's time in Orlando featured the most successful stretch of his career, which included five straight playoff appearances and one trip to the NBA Finals. He also was previously the head coach of the Miami Heat for three seasons.

"I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team," Van Gundy tweeted. "It will be an honor to work with our players and to work for Mrs. Benson and David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, their staff and the great people of New Orleans."

"I can’t wait to talk to our players and get the process started."

New Orleans fired former head coach Alvin Gentry on Aug. 15 after five years with the team. The Pelicans have logged just one playoff appearance in the last five seasons, but they enter 2020-21 stocked with young talent. 

2019 No. 1 pick Zion Williamson will look to build on his rookie season, while fellow Duke product Brandon Ingram will look to continue his growth as a lead option. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Andrew Lopez, Van Gundy's reputation as a "teacher of the game" in his 11-plus seasons as an NBA head coach stood out to the Pelicans.

There could be two Van Gundy's coaching in the NBA in 2020-21. Former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy is a candidate for the Rockets' coaching vacancy, potentially returning to the bench after over a decade as a broadcaster. Van Gundy also coached the Rocket for four seasons from 2004-07.

New Orleans finished No. 13 in the Western Conference in 2019-20 at 30–42.