After weeks of speculation, the search for a new head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans is over with the hiring of Willie Green.
The franchise made the announcement official on Thursday with a press release and Green now becomes the eighth head coach in the franchise’s nearly twenty-year history.
“After an extensive and collaborative search, Willie stood out among an impressive group of candidates as the best person to lead our team moving forward,” said Pelicans Governor Gayle Benson in a release. “We are very happy to welcome Willie as our new head coach and we look forward to working with him to guide our team on the court as we work towards bringing a championship to New Orleans.”
Green joins the Pelicans after spending the previous two seasons (2019-21) as an assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns. As a part of head coach Monty Williams’ staff, Green helped guide the 2021 Western Conference Champions to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993.
“I want to thank Mrs. Benson, David Griffin, and the entire Pelicans organization for having faith in me to lead this talented group of players moving forward,” said Green. “It’s a blessing and an honor to get this opportunity in a special place like New Orleans. I look forward to getting to work and immersing myself and my family into the local community.”
This isn’t Green’s first stay in the crescent city as the Detroit native played for the then-Hornets during the 2010-11 season after spending his first few years in the league with the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Willie has established himself as one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NBA. In large part, this is due to a tireless work ethic and authenticity of character,” Griffin said. “He brings a vast amount of basketball knowledge and experience to our team as both a coach and former player, along with exceptional leadership qualities and an innate ability to connect with players, staff and fans alike. We could not be more excited to welcome Willie and his family to New Orleans.”
Green will be formally introduced on Tuesday, July 27th at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.