NBA: Long-time assistant Clifford named to coach Bobcats

Steve Clifford, a long-time NBA assistant coach, has been named the new coach of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, taking on the challenge of revamping a failing squad.

Clifford replaces Mike Dunlap, who took over the team a year ago after it went 7-59, setting the worst winning percentage in NBA history.

Dunlap guided the Bobcats to a 21-61 mark, edging Orlando by one game to avoid the NBA's worst record this past season, but it was not enough to keep his job as coach of the team owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan.

Clifford will make his NBA coaching debut after 13 seasons as an assistant with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers. He becomes the Bobcats' sixth coach since the team was founded in 2004.

"We are excited to have Steve Clifford as our new head coach," Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said. "He brings a strong pedigree and a track record of success to our franchise.

"He has built a reputation as an innovator, especially defensively, and has experience in multiple systems. We look forward to utilizing his knowledge as we continue to build this team."

The Bobcats, who made their only playoff appearance in 2010, plan to rename the team the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014-2015 season.

Hornets was the nickname of the city's original NBA club before it moved to New Orleans. With that club switching nicknames to Pelicans starting this season, the Hornets tag became available again for Charlotte.