Basketball: NBA Hornets dump Clifford as coach after five seasons

Steve Clifford giving instuctions to his team.
Steve Clifford giving instuctions to his team.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) - Steve Clifford was fired as coach of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets on Friday (April 13), three days after the end of their third losing season in four campaigns.

The Hornets also missed the playoffs for the third time in four years, finishing at 36-46 for the second consecutive season.

"I want to thank coach Clifford for his contributions to the Hornets," Hornets general manager and president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said.

"I know he has worked incredibly hard on behalf of the organization and we wish him the best moving forward.

"The search for a new coach will begin immediately." Clifford took over the club in May of 2013 and in his first season guided Charlotte to a 43-39 record and into the playoffs, although a Miami sweep ended the post-season run.

Clifford also oversaw a run to the 2016 playoffs, where the Hornets pushed Miami to seven games but still lost in the opening round.

Overall, Clifford went 196-214 with the Hornets, his first NBA head coaching post after assisting on the staff of New York, Houston, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.