On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks fired coach Lloyd Pierce, who had been coaching the team since the start of the 2018-19 season. He had a 63-120 record during his time with the team and this season, he led the team to a 14-20 record. The team announced Monday night that Nate McMillan will take over as interim coach.
Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said the following in a statement:
“We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta. He and his wife, Melissa, are tremendous people who have made a positive impact throughout the city,” Schlenk said. “We have high expectations for our team on the court and we believe by making this change now that we can have a strong second half of the season.”
Many coaches and others in the basketball world reacted to the firing, with many praising Pierce for his work off the court and for the person he is. They also applauded the, now former, Hawks coach for his basketball knowledge.
Here are some of the top reactions:
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called it a “sad day” to see someone lose their job like that and compared it to missing out on a good player because they were evaluated wrongly.
NBCA President Rick Carlisle mentioned his political work, saying, “Georgia, in very large part because of Lloyd’s work and commitment, went from being a traditional Republican state to a Democratic state … which has massively changed the landscape of our country.”
Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash said, “He’s a heck of a young coach and an incredible human being. There would be a lot of organizations that would be very fortunate to have him. Disappointed for Lloyd. With his talent, character, and work ethic, he’s going to be fine.”
Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford also chimed in, saying, “It sucks. He’s done a really good job. He’s a tremendous person. Yeah, this is a hard one.”