Kenny Atkinson Officially Named Cavaliers Head Coach

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers have hired Kenny Atkinson as Head Coach, Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

 

Atkinson, 57, becomes the 24th head coach in Cavaliers team history after spending the last three seasons as assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, who most recently captured the 2021-22 NBA Championship. He will also serve as an assistant coach with the French National Team that will participate at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games this summer.  

 

We conducted a thorough and extensive search in the selecting of the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and today, we are excited to welcome Kenny Atkinson to Northeast Ohio,” said Altman. “Kenny brings a wealth of experience, a proven track record of player development, and a relentless work ethic that aligns with the vision we have for this franchise. His innovative approach will instill a style of play and brand of basketball that will give us a chance for sustainable success and ultimately compete for Championships. His familiarity coaching alongside some of the NBA’s best elevates this partnership and we are excited that Kenny will guide our team and help us achieve our goals both on and off the court.”

 

Prior to his stint with the Warriors, Atkinson was an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers (2021-22), and head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, spending parts of four seasons (2016-2020). He ranks third all-time in Nets franchise history for games coached (308) and fourth in wins (118). After Brooklyn posted a 20-62 record in his first season, Atkinson led the Nets to an eight-win improvement in his second season. In 2018-19, Atkinson guided Brooklyn to a 42-40 record and their first postseason berth since 2015. The 14-win improvement represented the third-biggest increase in wins among all NBA teams that season, and Brooklyn’s third straight season improving its win-loss record, marking the first time the Nets had done so in three or more consecutive seasons since 1990 to 1994.

His previous experience includes assistant coaching stops with Atlanta (2012-2016), New York (2008-2012), and one season as the director of player development in Houston (2007-08). 

I am thrilled and honored to be named head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” said Atkinson. “This is an incredible opportunity to lead an already talented young roster with an equally bright future. I’ve seen firsthand and had to prepare for this group as an opposing coach, and the task was not easy. I’m so excited to now be on this side of the ledger to help continue moving this team forward. I also want to thank Koby Altman and the front office for having the confidence in me and the shared vision we have for sustainable success in Cleveland.”

A native of Northport, New York, Atkinson has also held various coaching positions abroad, serving as director of player development and assistant coach for Paris Basket Racing Club in France (2004-06), director of player development and assistant coach for the National Team of the Republic of Georgia in the summer of 2006, assistant coach with the Ukraine National Team at the European Championships in 2011 and head coach of the Dominican Republic National Team in the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship held in Mexico City.

Atkinson also played professionally for 14 years (1990-2004), beginning his pro career in the CBA and USBL before competing for teams in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain. A standout collegiate player at the University of Richmond, Atkinson earned All-CAA First Team honors as a junior and senior, and helped lead the Spiders to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1988. He was also selected as the 1987 CAA Rookie of the Year. In 2010, Atkinson was inducted into the University of Richmond Hall of Fame.