CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bernie Bickerstaff will return next season as coach of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Bickerstaff had said several times late in the season that he was considering stepping down to focus on his role as general manager. But Bickerstaff said Tuesday he'll return in both roles for at least one more year.
"Consistency is very important and by continuing as head coach, I feel we are in great position to keep on track with our plan," Bickerstaff said in a letter to fans on the team's Web site. "The way our guys ended the season reinforced how much I like our team, and how professional our players are."
The 61-year-old Bickerstaff led the expansion Bobcats to an 18-64 record in their inaugural season in 2004-05. They were 26-56 this past season, but finished on a four-game winning streak despite numerous injuries.
Bickerstaff has said he had planned to step down as coach when the expansion franchise became more competitive.
"Our players and coaches have consistently worked hard and we have always believed in ourselves. Their energy is contagious and motivates me to give everything I have to make our team better," Bickerstaff said.
Bickerstaff has spent 13 seasons as a coach with Seattle, Denver, Washington and Charlotte.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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