Nate McMillan Agrees To Be Hawks’ Interim Head Coach

6:50pm: It’s official, according to a team press release.

6:17pm: Nate McMillan has agreed to coach the Hawks on an interim basis, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

McMillan, who was the team’s associate head coach, was initially reluctant to replace close friend Lloyd Pierce. Pierce’s support to take the job swayed him, Wojnarowski reports in another tweet. Pierce was dismissed on Monday afternoon after coaching Atlanta for two-and-a-half seasons.

McMillan has a 661-588 (.529) record in 16 seasons as head coach with Seattle, Portland and Indiana.

McMillan coached the Hawks for a couple of games in February while Pierce attended the birth of his second child. He was hired as Pierce’s top assistant in November, just over two months after he was let go by the Pacers.

McMillan, 56, guided the Pacers to a 183-136 (.574) record over the last four seasons, earning four consecutive playoff berths during that stretch. However, Indiana was swept in the first round in three of the last four years. He initially planned to take this season off but had a change of heart after several teams pursued him with assistant jobs.

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24 thoughts on “Nate McMillan Agrees To Be Hawks’ Interim Head Coach

  1. rxbrgr

    I don’t think anyone saw this coming when he was hired as an assistant this fall.

    • buttholesurfer69

      Indeed. That and adding 6 new rotation guys assured the beginning of the season would run smoothly for Atlanta.

    • Gary G.

      Backup plan? Actually I think McMillan and Pierce were buddies and McMillan came on to help his bro. McMillan probably feels bad to take over when friend got fired but I’m sure Pierce gave him the okay to go ahead and do it.

      McMillan’s a pro and he’ll hopefully steer the Hawks in the right direction with a few tweaks here and there. I mean if he’s already on the staff wouldn’t he have told Pierce everything he knows to get the team on the right track? But hopefully as I said, a little tweak here and there and the Hawks will be on the way. Seems like they’ve got all the positions covered on the court and roster? Youth, experience, big men, Shooters, guards.

      • jump shot

        Gary, you think Ty Lue told Doc everything he knew to help him? Nate knew the quickest route for him to become a head coach again ran thru Atlanta. As mentioned above, even Stevie Wonder – hell, even my guy Curtis Rowe – saw this coming ;)
        Will be interesting to see how well they play after the obligatory honeymoon, where every team wins one or two (or three) out of the gate after a coaching change. If he turns things around, he’ll likely keep the job. If not, its Kenny Atkinson’s job to lose.

        • Gary G.

          I thought I read that Nate McMillan and Lloyd Pierce were friends? I guess you’re right if McMillan wanted to coach again then go to the Hawks where Lloyd Pierce would be on short lease. Good call.

          • jump shot

            I certainly don’t mean to imply that McMillan in any way undermined Pierce in order to inherit the job. I’m sure they’re friends and he wanted to help him out. Bottom line tho, as a respected coach like himself being offered a handful of (lead) assistant coaching opportunities, you can look around and have a pretty good idea which one(s) are likely to have you in interim hc status within the year or next. Not that you want the hc to be fired, but if it happens…
            Out of 30 nba head coaches, I doubt there’s ONE that’s surprised Nate McMillan is the interim hc today (this season). It’s all circular. Lloyd will get one more shot.
            And, I think anything less than .550 for the Hawks the remainder of the season, they move on from Nate, as well. Good Luck!

        • Curtisrowe

          Nothing like knowing someone you don’t think about at all, thinks about you all the time. Thanks for the shout out Jump.

  2. Northern Expansion 416

    Let’s see if he will actually remain or will he be sent back to an assistant, to have a white hope at the helm…

      • Northern Expansion 416

        Well I didn’t approve of Casey being fired. Yes Nurse lead the raps, Casey is more old school. Still wish Casey could have gotten a ring.

  3. case7187

    The writing was on the wall when they brought him in they should’ve done in the off season but what do you expect from a clown ownership

  4. buttholesurfer69

    Counting Capela, they added 5 guys to this roster, if I’m remembering correctly


    They’re about 1/5 right now. We’ll see how Dunn looks when he gets back. Theoretically he’s a good fit next to Trae but I have my doubts with his shooting

    That and Collins is looking for a max. Young wings are still hit and miss.

    It’ll be an interesting 6 months for Atlanta I think.

    • Cap & Crunch

      Def 1/4 but at least the 1 was a pretty big win

      Love Capela in the new NBA, still baffled why Rockets traded him, he was such a good fit w Harden

      Interesting Indeed, they need to consolidate

      I was hoping Rondo could have evolved Trae a tad more but its still early for that

    • alphatron10

      If you include Snell, Hill, and Okongwu, thats 8 guys plus the two two-way players

  5. mike.honcho

    They replaced Pierce with McMillan …….. all will be well with Stephen A. Smith.

  6. El Don

    Real shame that Saunders & Pierce, which I like both of them as HC’s, have been fired for lesser HC’s, which is clear to see already in MIN how things are going worst for now, I can’t for the life of me imagine McMillan can do any better than Pierce!
    Problem with ATL is that Bogdanovic is a very poor man’s Huerter paid 18M/year… Gallinari is another very very very poor man’s JC extremely overpaid as well.
    But ATL ain’t willing to give the max to JC would be the least they can do for the kid, always said when they refused that this would be a bad season & very unlikely to make the playoffs!
    JC last season was so much better than JT, Mitchell or Murray & all got their max contract, right?
    How can you justify not giving it to JC, SMH!
    & that is how you shoot yourself in your foot & kill your season before it even starts, not to say for a young team spent big $ in vets is always a disaster waiting to happen, never ever works!
    Pierce did a very good job counting that the FO is sooo useless, as I said McMillan will do worst make no mistake about it!

  7. Pierce is a terrible game coach. Nate is a winner and will get them on track. They need to trade JC if they are not going to pay him. There free agent signings were way over market value.

    • Ironmonger835

      Bogdonovich and Gallinari were awful signings. They should try and see if they can dump Gallinari.

  8. phillyballers

    Not for nothing, but outside of Vanterpool McMillin’s name was brought up as someone they should have chosen in Minnesota on almost every media outlet I saw.

  9. Corporal Foxtrot

    Let’s see if complainer Trae finds fault with Coach Nate as he did with Coach Lloyd.

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