It’s official, Rex Walters is the next coach of the Grand Rapids Drive.
The Detroit Pistons announced the Walters will take on the sidelines and Jon Phelps will take over as GM of the team’s NBA D-League affiliate.
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy on the move, “Rex Walters brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience and has a passion for developing young players. He’s spent some time with us here and already has a good understanding of how we operate. We look forward to working with both of them.”
(featured photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
Walters spent the last eight seasons coaching at the University of San Francisco, he was fired on March 9, 2016. Walters led the Dons to two 20-win seasons and a couple of postseason appearances, neither of which was the NCAA Tournament. His teams went a combined 126-125 and Walters was named WCC Coach of the Year in 2013-14, leading the team to a 21-12 mark and an NIT bid.
But his tenure there was littered with criticism. One player left the team after a fight with a teammate that some say Walters may have instigated. He loses his cool on the sidelines occasionally, but always seems to find humor in it afterward. Then, there’s the transfer departure rate. But, on the good side of the transfer issue, his Academic Progress Rate numbers were up.
Back in April of 2006, Walters was hired as the head coach at Florida Atlantic University, where he led the school to a 31-33 record over two seasons.
Van Gundy, an assistant coach when Walters played for the Heat, told CSTV.com at the time, “I’m really excited for Rex, (he) was one of the hardest working players I had the good fortune to coach in the NBA, and any athlete playing for him now will be playing for someone who knows what it takes to be the best player possible.”
A native of Omaha, NE., Walters is of Asian-American heritage and played basketball collegiately for Northwestern and the Kansas Jayhawks.