Monday, June 3, 2013

Another MAAC Connection Becomes NBA Head Coach

For the first 32 years of the MAAC, we can't recall a single individual with conference connections becoming an NBA head coach.

And, now, within the space of a week, there are two.

First was former Siena and Fairfield assistant coach Steve Clifford getting hired as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats last week.

And, now, Mike Malone, a four-year player at Loyola (1989-1993), becomes the second one when he was named head coach of the NBA Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Malone, primarily a valuable reserve until starting regularly as a senior, was an effective point guard. Over his career with the Greyhounds he played in 107 games and started 39. He finished with 279 career assists, which ranks 11th in school history.

Malone's path to becoming an NBA head coach, as is usually the case, was lengthy and varied.

After graduating from Loyola in 1994, Malone began his coaching career at Oakland (Mich.) University where he served for one year before joining the staffs under Pete Gillen at Providence (1995-98) and Virginia (1998-99).

Malone then returned to the MAAC to be an assistant at Manhattan from 1999-2001 before moving to the NBA as a New York Knicks' assistant from 2003-05 (where both he and Clifford were assistants).

His next stop was as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2005-2010), and that team's roster during that time included Lebron James. Malone then spent the 2010-11 season with the New Orleans Hornets and the past two seasons as Mark Jackson's top assistant with the Golden State Warriors.

Malone is considered to be an exceptional strategist who, under Jackson, was given a great deal of responsibility in terms of implementing the Warriors' style of play.

Malone is the first Loyola alumnus to become a head coach in any of the four major leagues (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL).

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