Franchise hires former Pistons forward as assistant coach; brings over 20 years of professional basketball experience to Shock bench
AUBURN HILLS, Mich.
– January 6, 2005 – Detroit Shock Head Coach Bill Laimbeer announced today that Rick Mahorn has been added to the Shock coaching staff as an assistant coach. Mahorn brings over 20 years of professional basketball experience to the Shock bench including a championship season with the Pistons in 1989 as a member of the famed “Bad Boys.” Mahorn has worked with several Shock players one-on-one this off-season and is currently in his third season as a radio analyst for Pistons broadcasts on WDFN while working with the PS&E marketing department for the second straight year.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to be working with one of the good coaches that I know as both a professional and as a friend,” said Mahorn. “My goal is to do everything I can to help bring another championship to the Shock organization.”
Mahorn, 46, has two years of professional coaching experience, most recently as an assistant coach with the NBA Atlanta Hawks during the 2001-02 season. He served as head coach of the Rockford Lightning of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) for the 1999-00 season, guiding the Lightning to a 15-7 overall record and the American Conference title. His coaching excellence was recognized with two CBA Coach of the Month Awards.
“We’re very fortunate to get someone of Rick’s stature. He was an NBA player, has NBA coaching experience and believes in the WNBA,” Laimbeer said. “He lives locally here in Detroit and already has great relationships with our players. What more could I want? He seems like a great match.”
Mahorn enjoyed a successful 18-year NBA career after being selected in the second round of the 1980 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets (now Wizards). He averaged 5.8 points and 5.5 rebounds during his playing career with Washington, Detroit, Philadelphia and New Jersey. While his best years statistically came as a member of the Bullets (9.0 points and 8.2 rebounds), the 6-10 power forward’s ultimate success as a player came during his four seasons with Detroit. He earned All-NBA second team defensive honors during the Pistons’ first championship run in 1988-89.
“Rick brings a deep knowledge of the game to our organization, and he has won as both a player and head coach at the professional level,” said Shock captain Swin Cash. “He will be a great complement to Bill on the sidelines and a positive addition for the Shock.”
Shock 2005 season tickets are available by calling 248.377.0100 or by logging onto www.detroitshock.com
At the Pistons Hoop City Grille, January 6, 2005
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Shock VP of Operations Kristin Bernert
Shock Head Coach Bill Laimbeer
Shock Assistant Coach Rick Mahorn
Detroit Shock Vice President of Operations Kristin Bernert:
“Good afternoon, I would like to welcome all of you to the new Hoop’s City Grill if you haven’t been here yet. I know most of you here. For those of you I don’t know, my name is Kristin Bernert, I am the Vice President of Operations for the Shock. This is going to my fourth season here. It seems like I have been here for a long time, I know most of you now. Thank you for coming out, I know it was a little rough getting here with the weather.
Just a couple of housekeeping items, in your packet you will find our schedule for the 2005 season. This will be released today by the league and by us on our website a little bit later on today. But that is in your hands right now. We do open on May 21st against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Connecticut Sun at 1:00PM.
Just a couple of things before I hand it over to Bill to make our main announcement for why you are all here today; the league and our team has evolved throughout our seven year history. We are going into our eighth season now with the Shock and as part of that evolution we have established our brand and we are taking it to the next step. You’ve seen the Pistons deliver on the brand promise to “go to work” every night, to be there every night going to work for their fans both on and off the court. The Shock will deliver on that same brand promise, but will also make it a little bit more of a personal approach. More approachable, more acceptable, those are the brand attributes that the WNBA has and the Shock have and we want to take advantage of. The fans can get up close and personal and get to know players like Swin Cash and get to know coaches like Bill Laimbeer. So, as part of that we have hired the same advertising agency that the Pistons have called Olson Advertising. We will use them this year and next. We will be developing a television campaign and actually a new song. You may have heard the Detroit Shock Bring It song that Swin Cash started. I don’t know if you knew that, that the whole Bring It sound came from Swin. But we will be developing a new song and starting a new television advertising campaign as well as some other things that you will see throughout the year that speak to “It’s Personal”.
We have also taken a nice step in our evolution in hiring a dedicated sales and marketing staff. We are currently in the process of hiring that, which will be four people who will come in and work on the Shock sales and marketing year-round, 365 days a year. This is another part of our evolution and growth to build our fan base and continue to develop our fans. So that is it on the business side and I want to hand it off to Bill Laimbeer.”
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Head Coach/Director of Player Personnel Bill Laimbeer:
“First thing I would like to talk about are all of those false reports in the media about me going to Cleveland. Well, its true. They are false. (laughs) But, I do have an announcement today that will probably fuel speculation by the media. I can’t help that, that’s the way it is. Without further delay, I’m here to announce today that we have hired a new assistant coach. I have reached back into my past and that assistant coach will be Rick Mahorn. He has NBA player experience for double-digit years, NBA coaching experience. He lives in Detroit, he is already a member of the Palace Sports and Entertainment family, and he is a big supporter of the WNBA. He has lots of daughters they do play basketball. Our players all love him. He has been around them for quite a period of time now and they think he’s great. He has a great relationship with all of them as well as and more importantly; he has a great relationship with me. You need this to work with Laurie Byrd and me as a member of our staff and to be very successful with our ball club. So, without further ado, I’m going to invite our new assistant coach to come up here and chat with you all, and that’s Rick Mahorn.”
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Detroit Shock Assistant Coach Rick Mahorn:
“First of all, I’d like to thank you (Bill Laimbeer) personally. A lot of times we sit and talk and Lamb as been a strong supporter of whatever I did. I mean back to playing, lock out days, points of interest, business opportunities, he has always been there for me. So I would like to thank you (Laimbeer) personally for giving me this opportunity to coach with you in the WNBA. You have a wealth of knowledge that I’m looking forward to engaging this whole summer. I would like to thank the Detroit Pistons, who have always been a family of mine. I’ve never truly left Detroit; I’ve always made it my base area. My family really loves it up here. Even with this snow, we love it up here.
We are here to make sure that we bring the Shock back into the championship mode that they need to be in. It was a rough year last year watching. I’ve been seeing some things, but injuries also cause that. But we are going to come back full swing, hard, even harder then we did before to try to win another championship. I’d like to thank my family, but she’s not here yet with my other kids. I got my two boys in the corner making noise and I’d like to thank them for supporting me. They are sacrificing themselves for me to try to pursue another thing in coaching. Assistant coaching with Bill so now you have the Bad Boys reunited again and it will be really nice.”
On what his ultimate goals are and where he sees himself going:
“Coaching is always something that I’ve always wanted to do. As a lot of players and with my “double-digit” years in the NBA, you tend to learn a lot of things and you experience a lot of things that can help other people and players. You can expand and broaden your horizons. I want to be a coach. It doesn’t matter where you are as long as you are coaching. I mean even if you are in the WNBA. Look at Michael Cooper right now is the head coach of the Denver Nuggets. Even it is for an interim basis, he still is a head coach—that is all that matters. Every time I saw Lamb coach the WNBA, Lamb was coaching. It doesn’t matter if you have males or females out there, if you are coaching that is the experience you need and it doesn’t matter where you are.”
On his daughters and if they all play basketball:
“I have four daughters and they don’t all play basketball. I have a couple of bums. I have some younger ones that are really looking to engage in trying to play basketball. They want to do their daddy right. They said ‘Daddy I can get a scholarship to play basketball instead of me shelling out the cash’.”
On how his and Laimbeer’s strong personalities will mesh:
“I haven’t called him Boss, I still call him Bill. Mr. Davidson I call Boss. We have strong personalities, and I’ll tell you that when I first got to Detroit with Laimbeer and I, I didn’t like him. I can tell you that personally I didn’t like him. But as the years went on and we started sharing a lot of the experiences where he came from where I came from, it came together. I mean, trust me, it was a friendship. I think when I got left unprotected, it hurt him more than it hurt me. I was like it is okay. But, when you have that kind of respect for a person and confidence in that person, you don’t clash as long as you respect each other. We are strong willed, but are will is to win. If I have faults I know he will tell me, and if I have faults I may tell him, but I don’t know. It’s just going to be fun because I’ll tell you I’ve already learned a lot. We had a meeting the other day and I learned a lot. I was telling Laurie Byrd, the other assistant coach, and I was telling Kristin, I learned more in fifteen minutes than I learned in my NBA assistant coaching career. That just shows me a lot of the stuff that he has to do and a lot of the stuff that I will probably learn from him as well as I learned from Chuck Daly and all of the other coaches that I worked with.”
On how this coaching will be different from the past:
“Well, speaking with Lamb, it will be a lot of the things. I will learn how the women’s game is played like the rules and other things that I need to get adjusted to. But when it comes down to it, it is just plain basketball. It is trying to learn to adjust to situations defensively and offensively. It is figuring out how you want to pattern your group of players to your format of how you want to be. The players are an extension of you. The Shock proved that when Laimbeer took over when all of a sudden they went from worst to first. That is just a good scenario that shows that he is a winner. Each year you want to come in with the attitude of winning a championship, not just making the playoffs. You are coming in to win a championship and that is what you coach for.”
On how this will impact his radio career:
“It won’t impact it. You can still do radio and you can still do television, but my focus will be on the Shock and helping them to be the best team that they can be to win a championship.”
On if Laimbeer and Mahorn will make the Shock ‘Bad Girls’:
“All bad boys need bad girls and that is how it goes. Don’t you agree?”
On what his responsibilities will be:
“That is what I was talking about. In the first fifteen minutes in our first meeting, I thought it was a wealth or experience. I will be in charge of the defensive responsibilities because you know that I was a lot better of a defender than Laimbeer. So, it is pretty obvious about who will be in charge of defense.”
On if the team remembers when they played together:
“You know what, they are pretty young, but that is why they have Classic Sports. You would be surprised how many women and men watch Classic Sports. I know my friends call me all the time, telling me that I’m on again playing against the Lakers. I say, ‘I know, I have it taped in my basement’. People know your reputation. People here in Detroit know that we were hard workers and we came to play everyday. We were going to work before work was started. That is will be our philosophy as far as sharing what the women will know about how we performed.”
On his past duties in the NBA:
“I was the head coach for the Rockford Lightning in the CBA. Then I was an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks. I really didn’t know what my duties were and that was for two years. Now I know my responsibilities. Just like home. These guys (pointing to his young sons) know that they have to dump the trash all though the house, that is a responsibility that they have to do. When you know what your responsibilities are, you try to be the best at what you can be.”
On his relationship with the players:
“Swin, do I have a strong relationship? (Swin nods) Yes. I’ve seen them in the summer. I’ve played against them in the mornings with Ruth Riley and Barbara Farris. I’ve played against them in pick up games. It is just that kind of companionship that you get with them and then some respect. I want to teach them some stuff that will help them. If I can show them as much as I can tell them, then that is even better.”
On when Laimbeer approached him:
“He approached me two years ago. The process is that there was always open communication. Lamb knew that I wanted to be a coach and we have been talking about coaching for some years now. There have always been things that Lamb as kept me apart of. We were talking about during our careers and then during our post-careers. But, I did double-digit years and once his career stopped he ventured forth and did what he needed to get done. He was still that friend and that friendship has always been there.”
On why he didn’t take the job a couple years ago:
“A couple years ago I was coaching. In the NBA I was coaching with the Atlanta Hawks and then last year my focus was to get away and do some television and do some radio. I wanted to look at other opportunities. I wanted to give my summers to my family. Now I want to coach. So, when he approached me I was like why not.”
On how long he has been involved with the Pistons…a question asked by his young son:
“I bleed red, white, and blue. I played six years with the Pistons and now two. About the time you were born. I was also the color analyst for the television for the first inaugural year of the Shock. So, it is pretty coincidental.”
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