Hattiesburg native leads Hornets
By By Richard Dark/EMG staff writer
June 14, 2003
NEW ORLEANS It took a while, but the New Orleans Hornets finally have their Mississippi man.
Hattiesburg native Tim Floyd, who formerly coached the post-Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls, was introduced earlier this week as the sixth head coach in Hornets franchise history at a packed press conference in the New Orleans Arena.
The hiring of Floyd, a 1972 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, brings to a close a nearly six-week limbo period for the team whose two-pronged ownership of George Shinn and Mississippi native Ray Wooldridge dumped Paul Silas just two days after the Hornets were ousted from this year's NBA Playoffs.
Floyd, 49, who presently lives near Poplarville, agreed to an undisclosed three-year deal. Reportedly, it is an incentive-laden contract worth $1.3 million, which makes him the second-lowest paid coach in the league. He will make at least $4.8 million in base pay, with additional incentives for wins, playoff appearances, playoff wins and postseason accolades. A staff of assistants will come together within the month.
Floyd said he intends to bring a very high energy level and confidence to the job. "I intend to put every ounce of that day-in and day-out until we can put out the type of quality product that everyone can be proud of," he added. Those types of big aspirations weren't present a few years ago when Floyd succeeded Phil Jackson in Chicago.
He went on to guide a ship nearly devoid of talent and subsequently turned in one of the worst three-year periods in Bulls' history, resigning in December of 2001 after compiling a record of 49-190, in what Hornets Vice President Bob Bass labeled Monday as a "difficult situation."
It is Floyd's only pro stint to this point, but it is not his first time in the Crescent City. He also guided the University of New Orleans Privateers in the early 90s, before moving on to Iowa State. Floyd will have considerably more bullets in his gun here in New Orleans than he did in the Windy City. The Hornets are a veteran-laden team that has been in the playoffs for four straight seasons.