Phoenix Suns: Hornacek agrees to become new Suns coach

2013-05-27T00:00:00Z Phoenix Suns: Hornacek agrees to become new Suns coachPaul Coro The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
May 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - Jeff Hornacek agreed to terms with the Suns to become their new head coach and will sign the three-year contract by this morning.

The Suns quickly acted after impressive interviews from Hornacek, the popular former Suns player who has been an assistant coach for Utah. He was interviewed in Charlotte for its head coaching job and Philadelphia also was interested in him.

Cleveland was the first team to hire a coach this offseason when it brought back Mike Brown but the Suns were among six teams currently seeking a new coach with as many as three more expected to join that search.

Hornacek, 50, joined the Jazz as a shooting coach shortly before the 2007 playoffs and moved into a full-time assistant coach role in February of 2011 when Tyrone Corbin, his former Suns and Jazz teammate, took over the Jazz coaching job from Jerry Sloan.

Hornacek was known for his work with Utah's younger players. His coaching style brings a lot of the intelligence that he was known for as a player and an even-keeled demeanor that can turn disciplinarian when necessary.

The Suns drafted Hornacek with the 46th pick in the 1986 draft and the 14-year pro played his first six seasons in Phoenix, becoming an All-Star in his final year with a 20.1 scoring average.

Hornacek was then traded to Philadelphia as part of the Charles Barkley acquisition.

He stayed there a season and a half before being traded in 1994 to Utah, where he started until his retirement in 2000.

The sharpshooter helped lead the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances and later had his No. 14 retired in 2002.

Hornacek kept a reduced role in coaching initially while his three kids (now in college or graduated) were growing up in Phoenix, where he and his wife, Stacy, kept the family home. Horancek is the brother-in-law of Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson.

They attended Iowa State, where Hornacek was a walk-on and also has his No. 14 retired.

Hornacek will be the 16th head coach in Suns franchise history and the fifth since the 2007-08 season. Horancek was a finalist when the Suns chose Terry Porter in 2008 and a finalist with no bench experience for the Boston head coaching job in 2004 when Doc Rivers was hired.

Hornacek faces a daunting task rebuilding a once-successful franchise that compiled the worst record in the Western Conference and second-worst in franchise history at 27-55 last season. Only the franchise's inaugural season was worse.

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