The Washington Wizards have hired Wes Unseld Jr. as the team’s 25th head coach in franchise history. The contract is for four years, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
A deal with the Denver Nuggets associate head coach will bring him back to the organization that his father, Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, led to an NBA championship.
“Wes is one of the most highly-regarded assistant coaches in the NBA and clearly separated himself from the large and diverse group of candidates we considered,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “His strong record as an in-game tactician along with his attention to detail on both sides of the ball, combined with his reputation for player development and outstanding character during his 20+ years of coaching left no doubt that he was the best choice to guide our team to the next level.”
OFFICIAL: We've named Wes Unseld Jr. the 25th head coach in franchise history.— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) July 17, 2021
Welcome home, Coach! #DCAboveAll
Unseld will replace Scott Brooks, who was fired after three playoff appearances in five seasons.
Unseld spent six seasons as a Wizards assistant from 2005-11, then one season with the Golden State Warriors and two with the Orlando Magic. He then moved on to the Nuggets, where he was promoted to associate coach under Michael Malone last season after five seasons as an assistant.
“I want to thank Tommy and Mr. Leonsis for the opportunity to lead this talented team both on and off the court and to continue moving the franchise in a positive direction,” Unseld said. “Becoming a head coach in the NBA is a goal that I have pursued my entire adult life and to have that dream realized by coming full circle back to Washington is truly special. I look forward to representing the DMV, connecting with our fans and establishing a new standard for Wizards basketball.”
General Manager Tommy Sheppard and his team were very thorough during our search and the intelligence, information and recommendations gathered on Wes were exceeded by how impressive his preparation and planning were during the interview process.— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) July 17, 2021
He was born in Maryland and began working for the Wizards organization in 1997 after graduating from Johns Hopkins. He went on to spend 13 years in the organization, working his way up from scout to assistant coach.
His father led the Washington Bullets to the 1978 championship, winning NBA Finals MVP honors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.