Atlanta Hawks to make Nate McMillan permanent head coach after Eastern Conference finals run

·2-min read

Nate McMillan’s interim tag is finally gone.

The Atlanta Hawks and McMillan reached a deal on Monday to officially make him the team’s permanent head coach, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The deal is reportedly for four years.

McMillan had started the year out as an assistant, but was promoted to the head job after the Hawks fired coach Lloyd Pierce after just 34 games.

McMillan shedding interim tag

McMillan landed in Atlanta this season after a four-year stint leading the Indiana Pacers, where he compiled a 183-136 record and reached the playoffs in each season.

The 56-year-old, though, was fired after losing his fourth straight first-round series. He then joined Pierce’s staff in Atlanta to start the year.

Pierce, however, was fired 34 games into the season after starting out 14-20. He was in the middle of his third season with the organization, and has since landed as an assistant with the Pacers under new head coach Rick Carlisle.

McMillan wasn’t sold on the interim tag initially, and actually had to take time to make sure he was willing to replace Pierce.

“They wanted to name me head coach; I had to take some time to think about that,” McMillan said at the time. “I talked with Coach Pierce, he basically said he thought that I should take it and move forward.”

The move to keep McMillan through the end of the year proved to be a great one, as he rallied the team not only into the postseason but to the Eastern Conference finals — marking their first appearance there since 2015. Though they eventually fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in that series, McMillan clearly did enough for the Hawks to want to stick with him long term.

The Atlanta hiring marks McMillan’s fourth head coaching job in the league. He led the Seattle SuperSonics from 2000-05 before making the jump to the Portland Trail Blazers for the next seven seasons. He has compiled a 688-599 record and has reached the postseason 10 times.

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