Former Charlotte Hornets coach Paul Silas dies at 79
He is the last head coach to lead the team to a playoff series win.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Former Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats head coach and NBA player, Paul Silas has died at the age of 79.
Silas, who played in the NBA for 16 years from 1964-80, was an assistant with the Hornets from 1997-99 before becoming the head coach from 1999-2002.
He led Charlotte to winning records in all four seasons and made the playoffs three times with two conference semifinal appearances. He is the last head coach to lead the team to a playoff series win.
The team’s three straight playoff berths from 1999-2000 through 2001-02 is the only time in franchise history that the Hornets have gone to the playoffs in three straight seasons.
“Paul was an incredible leader and motivator who served as our head coach on two occasions,” Hornets owner Michael Jordan said. “He combined the knowledge developed over nearly 40 years as an NBA player and coach with an innate understanding of how to mix discipline with his never-ending positivity. On or off the court, Paul’s enthusiastic and engaging personality was accompanied by an anecdote for every occasion.”
In 2010, Silas returned to become the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats until 2012. He didn’t have as much success during his second tenure and was fired after the team went 7-59 in 2011-12, which is the worst winning percentage in league history.
In total, Silas had a 193-208 regular season record in Charlotte, which is the third-most wins by a head coach in franchise history.
As a player, Silas was a three-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics in the 1970s. He was an NBA all-star twice. He averaged 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in his career.
“He was one of the all-time great people in our game, and he will be missed,” Jordan added. “My thoughts, and the thoughts of our entire organization, are with his wife, Carolyn; his children, Paula and Stephen; and the entire Silas family.”
Silas also served as the head coach with the San Diego Clippers, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
His son, Stephen, was an assistant coach with Charlotte from 2010-18 and is now the head coach of the Houston Rockets.
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