MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama is hoping Avery Johnson’s NBA pedigree will translate to success in the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournament.
The Crimson Tide announced Monday night it had hired Johnson to fill its coaching vacancy. The terms of Johnson’s contract won’t be released until it’s approved by the board of trustees’ compensation committee.
“Coach Johnson has an impressive record from the professional ranks, as both a player and a head coach,” athletic director Bill Battle said in a statement. “His personal history is a testament to what character, enthusiasm, perseverance, talent and intelligence can do. He has shown fortitude and skill in every opportunity.
“I am confident that Avery will provide our student-athletes with the best qualities of leadership: commitment, hard work, enthusiasm, poise, confidence, and pride. I am very excited about having Avery join the Crimson Tide family. Not only do I believe that he will be an excellent head coach, but I am also convinced that he will be a tremendous example to our student-athletes in all areas on and off the court.”
The Tide fired Anthony Grant after making only one NCAA tournament during his six-year tenure.
Johnson had stints as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, but this is his first college coaching job.
Johnson was the NBA Coach of the Year in 2006 after leading the Mavericks to their first NBA Finals appearance. He was fired by the Nets in December 2012 after the team went into a slump and had been working as an ESPN analyst since then.
He was the Nets’ coach during their move to Brooklyn. Johnson went from Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in November to being fired in the following month after the Nets lost 10 of 13 games.
Johnson is the SEC’s latest attention-getting hire, joining Ben Howland (Mississippi State), Rick Barnes (Tennessee) and a year ago Bruce Pearl at Auburn.
As a player, he was part of the Spurs’ NBA championship team in 1999.
His son, Avery Johnson Jr., just finished his freshman season at Texas A&M, which also plays in the SEC.
Alabama had targeted Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, who decided to stay put.
This article was written by John Zenor from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.