In the wake of Scott Layden taking a new position with the San Antonio Spurs, the Jazz promoted Mike Sanders as his replacement and hired former Utah Flash and Austin Toros coach Brad Jones as the new Assistant Coach/Player Development.
Jones had great success in the D-League, leading the Flash deep in the playoffs and most recently winning the championship with the Austin Toros. He also coached against his former assistant, Kevin Young, in the D-League All-Star game last season.
On a personal level, I’m very excited for Coach Jones. I really enjoyed covering his team and interacting with him while he was coaching the Flash. There aren’t many nicer or more capable coaches in the game and it’s exciting to see a guy from the D-League get a call-up. Jones is also the nephew of the late Bobbye Sloan.
As for Sanders, he’ll fill out a bench of former players. Between him, Sidney Lowe, Jeff Hornacek, and Tyrone Corbin, the Jazz have roughly nine million years of playing experience. Check out the full press release for more background on the moves:
Full press release:
SALT LAKE CITY (September 6, 2012) – The Utah Jazz announced today that Michael Sanders has been promoted to an assistant coach on Tyrone Corbin’s staff, after having spent the 2011-12 season as assistant coach/player development. In a related move, the Jazz has also agreed in principle with veteran NBA Development League coach, and former Jazz scout, Brad Jones to assume Sanders’ previous position as assistant coach/player development.
“Moving Mike from player development to the bench is a promotion that he has earned. His strong work ethic and skillset, coupled with his experience as a former player and coach in the NBA and D-League, has proven to be valuable to our franchise and I look forward to working with him closer in his enhanced role,” said Utah Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin. “Brad is a well-respected and recognized young coaching talent with a proven track-record of player development. We are very happy to be bringing him back to the Jazz family.”
A veteran of the coaching ranks, Sanders recently completed his first season with the Jazz and has previously served as an assistant coach in the NBA for Detroit, Milwaukee and Charlotte. He originally began his coaching career in 1998 as an assistant coach with the Wisconsin Blast of the International Basketball Association (IBA) before becoming head coach of the IBA’s Black Hills Gold for the 1999-2000 season. In 2000-01 he then became head coach of the United States Basketball League (USBL)’s Washington Congressionals. In 2000-01 Sanders joined the Detroit Pistons an assistant coach.
The following season he joined the D-League’s Asheville Altitude, where he would spend four years as an assistant coach and director of player personnel, helping to lead the franchise to D-League championships in 2004 and 2005. During his time with the Altitude, Sanders also spent three offseasons with the USBL’s Adirondack Wildcats as the team’s head coach (2002-2004). In 2005, Sanders returned to the NBA, joining the Milwaukee Bucks staff as an assistant coach for two seasons. He then served as an assistant coach and advance scout with the Charlotte Bobcats for the 2007-08 campaign.
Prior to his coaching career, Sanders played 11 seasons in the NBA for four teams – San Antonio (1982-83), Phoenix (1983-88), Cleveland (1987-89, ’91-93) and Indiana (1989-92). Originally selected in the fourth round (74th overall) of the 1982 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings, Sanders appeared in 648 career games (209 starts) and averaged 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 19.1 minutes.
Jones returns to the Jazz after spending the previous two seasons as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs-owned Austin Toros of the D-League. Jones led the Toros to a D-League Championship this past season, defeating the L.A. D-Fenders two games to one in the D-League Finals.
Prior to his time with the Toros, Jones previously spent three seasons as the original head coach of the D-League’s Utah Flash (2007-10). As a D-League expansion team, the Flash enjoyed a successful inaugural campaign under Jones finishing the 2007-08 season with a 24-26 mark. A year later the Jones guided the Flash to a 32-18 record and advanced them to the 2009 D-League Finals. The Flash posted a 28-22 record in 2009-10, making a second straight playoff appearance.
During his five-year D-League coaching career, Jones had eight different players under his tutelage called-up up to the NBA a total of 13 times, and also had 12 different NBA players assigned by their respective teams to work with him on a total of 14 D-League assignments.
Prior to joining the Flash, Jones served as a regional scout for the Utah Jazz for six years (2001-2007). Jones also served as the head coach at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., from 1995-2001. During his tenure at the helm of the Eagles he was twice named the Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year and led the school to a pair of conference championships.