Thunder hires Scott Brooks as full-time coach

By Darnell Mayberry - Staff Writer Modified: April 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm •  Published: April 15, 2009
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LOS ANGELES — The Thunder has lifted the interim tag from coach Scott Brooks, naming him the full-time head coach on Wednesday afternoon.

The exact terms of the contract are unclear, but the deal is a multi-year agreement.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti had previously maintained he would make the decision at the end of the season. But Presti pulled the trigger on the announcement prior to Wednesday night’s season finale against the Los Angeles Clippers to provide clarity to players, who will meet one final time for exit interviews in Oklahoma City on Thursday before scattering for the off-season.

"We are excited to have a head coach in Scott Brooks who believes in our philosophies and consistently leads with those values," Presti said. "He has a passion to help our players develop, continue to foster accountability and selfless play and has the ability to communicate with every player on our roster."

Brooks has received overwhelming support from his players and high praise from his peers for the job he has done since taking over for fired coach P.J. Carlesimo on Nov. 22, only 13 games into the season.

The Thunder enters Wednesday’s finale 21-47 under Brooks, but the team has become more competitive compared to the 1-12 start it sputtered to under Carlesimo.

Brooks’ tenure also got off to a 1-12 start, but the Thunder went 15-17 during a stretch from Dec. 19 through March 10, including a 10-9 mark from New Year’s Eve through Feb. 8. The Thunder’s average margin of defeat since Brooks took over is 5.6 points, 6.7 points fewer than the 12.3-point average margin of defeat the Thunder saw in 13 games under Carlesimo.

Oklahoma City, however, has limped to the finish line with a 4-13 record over the past 17 games going into the finale.

“If you look at what he’s done from the beginning of the season until now, he’s changed the culture of the way we play and the way we practice,” said Desmond Mason.

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