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Charlotte Hornets hire new head coach

Coach Charles Lee pointing
Charlotte Hornets
Charles Lee has been named head coach of the Charlotte Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets announced Thursday the team has hired Charles Lee as their new head coach. This comes after the team announced former coach Steve Clifford would step down to move into a front-office role with the team.

Lee is an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, who are in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. He will officially join the Hornets following the conclusion of the Celtics playoff run. He’s been with the team since the 2023 season.

The Maryland native played college basketball at Bucknell University from 2002 to 2006. He was named the Patriot League Player of the Year in 2006 and finished his career at Bucknell with 1,147 points. Lee played professional basketball in Europe and Israel from 2006 to 2010.

Following his playing career, he returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2012.

Lee moved up to the NBA in 2014 and was brought up as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks. He was with Atlanta at the same time as the Hornets' new Vice President of Basketball Operations, Jeff Peterson.

After a stint with the Hawks, Lee joined the Milwaukee Bucks and spent five seasons with the team. Lee won a championship with the Bucks during the 2021 season. With the departure of assistant coach Darvin Ham, Lee became the team’s associate head coach in 2022. Over the last 10 years, Lee’s teams have posted a 510-291 regular season record and have had nine NBA Playoff appearances.

The Hornets finished the 2023-24 season with a 21-61 record. With a significant box checked off for the offseason, the focus now turns to the upcoming NBA Draft.

Charlotte will find out on Sunday during the Draft Lottery where they’ll land in this year’s draft. The Hornets have a 14% chance to get the No.1 pick in this year’s draft.

The last time the Hornets had the No.1 pick was in 1991, and the team drafted Larry Johnson.

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Kenny is a Maryland native who began his career in media as a sportswriter at Tuskegee University, covering SIAC sports working for the athletic department and as a sports correspondent for the Tuskegee Campus Digest. Following his time at Tuskegee, he was accepted to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program as a Marketing Intern for The NASCAR Foundation in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2017.