I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team. It will be an honor to work with our players and to work for Mrs. Benson and David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, their staff and the great people of New Orleans. I can’t wait to talk to our players and get the process started— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) October 21, 2020
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.
The Pelicans’ head coaching job had been open since Alvin Gentry was dismissed on August 15.
In a market that featured a number of highly-regarded assistants, VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin opted for a known commodity to guide one of the NBA’s youngest rosters.
Van Gundy, who last coached the Detroit Pistons from 2014-18, comes to New Orleans with a career record of 523-384, with eight playoff appearances in 11 full seasons.
His first playoff series win came at the expense of the then-New Orleans Hornets in 2004.
Van Gundy’s teams have won at least 50 games five times in his career. The Pelicans have one 50-win season in franchise history.
Considered one of the great teachers and strategists of the game, Van Gundy’s primary tasks will be putting a defensive structure in place, and developing the roster’s talented core that includes Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick and Lonzo Ball.
Although the youthfulness is evident, the front office appears to have felt that an experienced teacher was the best route for a team which expects to challenge for the playoffs sooner rather than later.
Stay tuned for further updates.