Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk announced Monday afternoon that the team had an agreement in place with coach Nate McMillan to remove the interim label and keep him with the franchise going forward.
“We’re just drawing up the contract,” Schlenk said on a conference call with reporters to close out Atlanta’s season. “We’ve had a good working relationship, and I’m excited he’s going to be our head coach moving forward.”
McMillan, who led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals, was picked by Schlenk to replace coach Lloyd Pierce at the beginning of March. The franchise was 14-20 and stuck in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Once McMillan grabbed the reigns, the Hawks went 27-11 to close out the season and claim the fifth seed in the East.
“From the first day when he took over as interim head coach, we both made the decision we were going to get to the end of the season before we talked,” Schlenk said. “The season obviously ended the other day, and we started talking to his agents yesterday and came to a deal this morning.”
“It’s just a blessing. It really was a blessing,” said McMillan after the Game 6 loss to Milwaukee. “I really didn’t look back on what had happened last season. My focus was on, once I got this opportunity, to come down and try to help first Coach Pierce, and then when the opportunity presented itself for me to coach this team, to try to make it better.
“That was just the focus this entire season, trying to make it better here for this organization. It really was a blessing. I thank God for all the opportunities and the blessings that have been provided to me this year.”