Hornets coach Steve Clifford to take leave of absence

Rick Bonnell, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Basketball

This is Silas' first season as Clifford's lead assistant, after Patrick Ewing left the staff last spring to coach his alma mater, Georgetown.

Hornets forward Marvin Williams said at practice Tuesday that Silas didn't look anything like a rookie head coach Monday night.

"It looked really easy to him," Williams said. "Obviously, growing up watching his father play and his father coach, and being a coach for so long, I don't feel like he missed a beat out there. He didn't seem uncomfortable. Like a normal, regular game for us."

Paul Silas wasn't given a contract extension by the then-Bobcats beyond 2012. Stephen Silas remained on the staff, working with Mike Dunlap and Clifford.

"I've been preparing to be a head coach basically for all my life," Silas said. "To get the opportunity under these circumstances is not great at all, but it's kind of what I've been preparing for."

This is a key stretch of the schedule for the 9-13 Hornets. Starting Monday against Orlando, they play 10 of 13 at home. Point guard Kemba Walker said they have to stay on task, even with Clifford away from the team.


"Even though he's not here, we have to move forward," Walker said. "It's just like a player going down (with injury): next man up. We've got to move forward and get a win. And I'm pretty sure coach (thinks) the same way."

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