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The Alabama Crimson Tide men’s basketball team has hired former Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn/New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson to lead their program.
CBS Sports reported that close sources revealed that the deal has been finalized and will be made official by the team soon.
The 50-year-old Johnson has never coached in college basketball before but was very successful in his early years as an NBA head coach.
A former NBA star with the San Antonio Spurs, Johnson played from 1988 until 2004 and was an integral part of the 1999 San Antonio Spurs NBA Championship team. He retired in 2004 and was promptly hired as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, and was given the reins to the team after coach Don Nelson resigned in the middle of the season.
Under Johnson, the Mavericks went 16-2 in his first 18 games and made the Western Conference Semi-Finals in 2005. The following season the Mavericks went all the way to the NBA Finals after a 60-22 regular season record. On December 31, 2006, Johnson became the fastest head coach to win 100 games in a win over the Denver Nuggets. For his efforts in the 2006 season, Johnson was named NBA Coach of the Year. The following two years the Mavericks made the playoffs but were bounced in the first round of the NBA playoffs both times. In 2008 he was dismissed as head coach of the Mavericks.
Johnson had an unsuccessful stint as head coach of the New Jersey Nets – later the Brooklyn Nets when they moved in 2012, and was fired after a 14-14 record to start the 2012-13 season. He has been out of coaching ever since.
Avery Johnson takes over an Alabama team that finished 19-15 in the NCAA and only 8-10 in the SEC conference. The Crimson Tide were not invited to participate in the NCAA Tournament and have made just one appearance in the Tourney since 2006.