<
>

Charlotte franchise interviewed 5 candidates

10/16/2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bernie Bickerstaff will be the coach and general manager of the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, sources told ESPN's David Aldridge on Wednesday.

Later, two team sources told The Associated Press the same thing.

Bickerstaff, who spent parts of 10 seasons as an NBA coach and
the past year as general manager of the WNBA's Charlotte Sting,
will be introduced at a Thursday news conference, the AP sources said
on condition of anonymity.

Karl Hicks, already a member of the Bobcats' front office and
former executive director of the National Basketball Developmental
League, will be named assistant general manager, the AP sources added.

Gary Brokaw, former director of player personnel for the Orlando
Magic, will hold the same role in Charlotte. Brokaw had interviewed
for the general manager position.

Charlotte vice president Ed Tapscott was not immediately
available Wednesday night to discuss the hires.

The Bobcats begin play in 2004-05. They will replace the
Hornets, who moved to New Orleans last year after 14 seasons in
Charlotte.

The 58-year-old Bickerstaff was an NBA head coach with the
Seattle SuperSonics (1985-90), the Denver Nuggets (1994-96) and the
Washington Wizards (1996-99), compiling a record of 338-348 (.493).

He was NBA Coach of the Year for the 1986-87 season after
leading Seattle to the Western Conference finals, where the
SuperSonics lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bickerstaff began his NBA coaching career in Washington as an
assistant in 1973. He was part of a staff that led the then-Bullets
into the playoffs 10 times, and the NBA Finals three times,
including the 1978 NBA championship.

He was also the president and general manager in Denver from
1990 through 1997.

He was lured back to Washington to become the head coach when
the Wizards were struggling at the All-Star break. He rallied the
team to its first playoff appearance in nine years, but was fired
in April 1999 after going 13-19 after the NBA lockout.

Bickerstaff was one of five candidates, including Brokaw, to
interview for the general manager job. The Bobcats also talked to
Chris Wallace of the Boston Celtics, Walt Perrin of the Utah Jazz
and Maurizio Gherardini of an Italian club team.

Perrin, Jazz director of player personnel, withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday.

Perrin, in his third season with the Jazz, said the timing
wasn't good for him to pursue a new job.

The hiring ends a long waiting period for the Bobcats, who
couldn't make any moves until Michael Jordan decided if he wanted
to be part of the team.

Jordan is a close friend of owner Bob Johnson, and was offered
any role he wanted. That prevented Tapscott from moving ahead with
his general manager search.

But Jordan decided last month to pursue majority ownership of
his own team, kicking off Tapscott's six-week search for a general
manager.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.