Suns Make It Official: Gentry's Option Year Picked Up And Assistant Coaches Re-signed

Both of these developments had been reported previously, but are now official according to the press releases sent out by the team. The only item to note is John Shumate not returning to the coaching staff. He will reportedly go back to his job on the scouting staff.

Look for former University of Georgia Coach Dennis Felton to possibly join the the bench.

 

SUNS EXERCISE CONTRACT OPTION ON GENTRY

Third-year option picked up on Phoenix head coach

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns have exercised the third-year option on head coach Alvin Gentry's contract for the 2011-12 season, the club announced today.

"Alvin has done a phenomenal job as our head coach," said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver. "His leadership and ability to connect with and lead our players was exceptional."

Originally elevated as the 14th head coach in franchise history on an interim basis on Feb. 16, 2009, Gentry was named the club's head coach on May 9, 2009. In just 113 games under his leadership, Gentry's Suns have compiled a 72-41 (.637) record, giving him the third-highest winning percentage among coaches in franchise history (Paul Westphal, Mike D'Antoni).

The 30-year coaching veteran in both the professional and collegiate ranks took the reins of the Suns in 2009 with the stated goals of establishing a homecourt advantage, returning the club to its trademark offensive explosiveness, and developing a young, productive bench.

In just a season-plus under his leadership, the Suns own a 46-12 (.793) home mark, seventh-best of any NBA team in that span, and perhaps most impressively are 31-6 (.838) at home against the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Phoenix has led the NBA in scoring in each of the last two seasons and averaged 112.3 points during his tenure, even more than the trendsetting Suns posted from 2004-05 to 2007-08 (109.8). In 2009-10, the Suns bench ranked 10th in the NBA, averaging 33.2 points. Gentry and the bench gained national attention during the playoffs when the group increased its scoring average to 34.1 points, best in the NBA, as Gentry played 10 or more Suns in 16-straight postseason games for the first time since 1993.

In his first full season on the bench in 2009-10, Gentry was a two-time NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for November 2009 and March 2010. In leading the Suns to 54 wins, his career-high as a coach, and the conference's third-best record, Gentry finished fifth in NBA Coach of the Year voting.

Gentry became just the fifth head coach in franchise history to lead his team to a Western Conference Finals berth in his first full season. Gentry coached the Suns to 10 postseason victories in 2010, tied for the second-most in a single postseason in franchise history.

In 21 seasons in the NBA, Gentry has enjoyed three other head coaching stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (1997-2000) and Miami Heat (1995). He has worked alongside some of the game's most respected coaches, including Larry Brown, Kevin Loughery, Doug Collins and Mike D'Antoni. Gentry joined the Suns organization as an assistant coach on June 1, 2004.

A point guard at Appalachian State under Press Maravich and Bobby Cremins, Gentry earned a degree in management in 1997 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistsant at the University of Colorado the following season.

The 55-year-old Gentry is married to Suzanne and has three children: Alexis, Ryan and Matthew.

 

 


SUNS SIGN THREE ASSISTANT COACHES

Majerle, Cartwright, Kokoskov Signed Through 2011-12

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns have signed assistant coaches Dan Majerle, Bill Cartwright and Igor Kokoskov to contracts through the 2011-12 season, the club announced today.

"I could not be happier to keep Dan, Bill and Igor on our staff," said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "Finalizing their return was just a matter of time. Our success this season was a product of how well our team worked together and how badly our guys wanted to win, and that included our entire coaching staff."

Majerle, Cartwright and Kokoskov originally joined the Suns' coaching staff on June 20, 2008, and have served on the club's bench each of the last two seasons. The trio has served on the staff of head coach Alvin Gentry for his entire 113-game tenure.

The 44-year-old Majerle was a three-time NBA All-Star (1992, 1993, 1995), all with the Suns, during his 14-year career with Phoenix, Cleveland and Miami. Nicknamed "Thunder," Majerle became a permanent fan favorite while playing eight seasons with the Suns (1988-95, 2001-02) and was given the club's highest honor, induction into the Ring of Honor, on March 9, 2003. Majerle retired as the Suns' all-time leader in three-point field goals made, a record now held by Steve Nash, and ranks 18th in that category in NBA history overall (1360).

Majerle served as the head coach of the Suns' Las Vegas Summer League squads in 2008 and 2009, and will do so again in 2010. Before joining the Phoenix coaching staff, Majerle spent the previous four seasons as a television analyst for Suns' broadcasts and also worked in that capacity for TNT, ESPN and ABC.

A five-time NBA champion as a player and coach, Cartwright owns a wealth of coaching experience established over 12 seasons as an NBA assistant coach and parts of three seasons as head coach of the Chicago Bulls (151 games). Cartwright served six seasons in the Bulls organization under Phil Jackson (1996-98) and Tim Floyd (1998-2001) and was on the staff of Chicago's 1997 and 1998 championship squads. Cartwright then spent four seasons on the bench of the New Jersey's Nets before joining the Suns in the summer of 2008.

The third overall pick of the 1979 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, Cartwright spent his first eight seasons in the Big Apple before a 1988 trade sent him to Chicago and help propel the Bulls to their first three championships. He was a 1980 NBA All-Star and a 1979 selection to the NBA All-Rookie Team.

Kokoskov (ko-KOSH-kov) just completed his 10th season as an assistant coach in the NBA after entering the league in 2000 as a member of Gentry's staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. The 38-year-old was the first full-time, non-American assistant coach in NBA history, and just one week ago on June 18 Kokoskov became an American citizen in a ceremony at US Airways Center.

The native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, has served as the head coach of the Serbia and Montenegro national team, and most recently served in the same capacity for the Republic of Georgia. Kokoskov was an assistant coach for the Suns' Las Vegas Summer League entries in both 2008 and 2009.

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