April 19, 2016 – Korn Ferry has been selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves to find its next head coach.
The team relieved interim coach Sam Mitchell of his duties following Wednesday’s season finale. He had taken over for ailing coach Flip Saunders, who died in October after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Minnesota ended the season with the fifth worst record in the NBA at 29-53. The team has missed the playoffs for the last 12 consecutive seasons, the longest active postseason drought in the league.
Top candidates, according to media reports, include ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, former Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, and former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, former Golden State Warriors coach and current ESPN analyst Mark Jackson and current Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger could be a few other names to watch, according to sources.
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Korn Ferry, the largest of the global recruitment firms, has a highly developed sports practice, today led by Jed Hughes. His relationships within sports and intercollegiate athletics are extensive, having spent 20 years coaching in professional and intercollegiate football and working for five Hall of Fame coaches. The firm’s sports practice has conducted a number of prominent searches in the field, including commissioners for the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), as well as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Mr. Hughes’ highest profile placements include New York Jets GM John Idzik; Mark Murphy, CEO of the Green Bay Packers; Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12; Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12; and Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke, the athletic director and the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines respectively. He has also conducted searches for the USOC, LPGA, PGA of America, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Arsenal Football Club, Liverpool Football Club, Ohio State, ATP Tour, and Women’s Tennis Association, among others.
Korn Ferry has been active filling head coaching and general manger roles for both professional and colligate sports teams. At the end of the most recent Major League Baseball season, the firm placed David Sterns as general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Korn Ferry also just recently assisted the Cleveland Browns with the hiring of Hue Jackson as its new head coach.
MLB retained Korn Ferry last year to provide league-wide talent support services, which includes assisting candidates who reach the interview process for baseball operations positions.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media