NBA: Detroit Pistons hire Van Gundy as coach and top executive

DETROIT (AFP) - Stan Van Gundy, who guided the Orlando Magic into the NBA Finals five years ago, was named Wednesday as coach and president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons.

The 54-year-old American has a 371-208 coaching record in two seasons with the Miami Heat and five with Orlando, which lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2009 championship series.

"Stan is a proven winner in our league," said Pistons owner Tom Gores. "He instills his teams with passion, purpose and toughness. He is a great teacher who will help our players grow and develop."

Van Gundy was a Miami Heat assistant coach from 1995 to 2003, then replaced Pat Riley as coach for two seasons, guiding the team to the 2005 Eastern Conference final where Miami lost to Detroit.

Van Gundy resigned in December of 2005, replaced by Riley on a team that would go on to win the NBA crown in 2006.

In 2007, Van Gundy took over at Orlando and led the team to three division titles in a row, an NBA Finals trip and a 2010 East finals run. But first-round exits the following two seasons led to Van Gundy's firing in 2012.

"Stan is more than just a great coach. He's a great leader," Gores said. "What I'm most excited about is how Stan can help us shape the franchise and instill what it means to be the best. He's also a great communicator. He will bring our players, team and community to a very proud place."

The Pistons went 29-53 for the second season in a row in 2013-14, missing the playoffs for a fifth campaign in a row. That failure prompted long-time Pistons president Joe Dumars to resign last month.

Van Gundy is Detroit's sixth coach since the Pistons reached the 2008 East finals. The team has not managed 40 wins in a season since that run and has not won an NBA title since 2004.

He says he is ready to rebuild the club as the personnel decisionmaker and spark improvement on the court as well.

"Tom's vision of building for the future, while seeking immediate improvement is a challenge that I embrace," Van Gundy said. "We will work to put a team on the floor that reflects the franchise's rich tradition and embodies the toughness and work ethic of fans in the Detroit area."