Nate McMillan becomes Atlanta Hawks’ interim coach

Nate McMillan took over as interim coach of the Atlanta Hawks this week, replacing the ousted Lloyd Pierce on the bench.

McMillan worked his first game in charge against the Miami Heat on Tuesday. The Hawks won, 94-80.

Atlanta improved to 2-0 under Nate McMillan by beating the Orlando Magic 115-112 on Wednesday.

Pierce was let go on Monday after Atlanta won 14 of its first 34 games. In his third season at the helm, Pierce compiled a 63-120 record.

“We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “He and his wife, Melissa, are tremendous people who have made a positive impact throughout the city.

“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.”

The 56-year-old McMillan began the next chapter of his coaching career somewhat reluctantly.

“The thought process at first was that wasn’t something I really was going to do, because it was really a surprise to me,” McMillan told reporters. “When I spoke with Travis about that I told him that wasn’t what I came here for.”

Nate McMillan’s coaching career

After playing his entire 12-season NBA career with the Seattle SuperSonics, Nate McMillan made his head coaching debut with the same club in 2000. He led the Sonics from 2000-05 before taking the same position with the Portland Trail Blazers. From 2005 until 43 games into the 2011-12 campaign, McMillan patrolled the Blazers sideline.

After three seasons as the Indiana Pacers’ associate head coach, the Pacers named him head coach in 2016. He lasted in that role for four seasons. Nate Bjorkgren replaced McMillan in Indiana.

In his 16 seasons as a head coach, McMillan, who joined the Atlanta staff before the start of last season, has a 661-588 record.

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