Van Gundy receives extension from Rockets
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Despite his recent troubles with the league
for remarks he made during the Rockets’ brief postseason run, Houston head
coach Jeff Van Gundy has received a one-year contract extension on Wednesday.
The extension means that Van Gundy will remain with the Rockets through the
2007-08 season. He has already spent two seasons with Houston, posting a 96-68
mark with consecutive playoff appearances.
“When I hired Jeff two years ago, I said that I wanted to bring in a
championship-caliber coach,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said. “Jeff has
done a great job for us over the past two seasons and I wanted to reward him
for his hard work and dedication. Jeff has a unique ability to get the best
out of his players and I believe he has our team poised on the verge of
returning to our championship form.”
Van Gundy was hit with the largest fine for a head coach in league history
during the Rockets’ first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks when he
publicly questioned the integrity of the league’s officials. He said that
referees were targeting Rockets center Yao Ming, citing an unnamed NBA
official as the source of the comments.
Commissioner David Stern took the comments very seriously and hit Van Gundy
with a $100,000 fine. It was also rumored at the time that Van Gundy could be
hit with a suspension.
Houston lost its first-round series in seven games.
Van Gundy’s winning percentage of .585 stands as the highest of any coach in
franchise history. He has posted nine consecutive winning records as an
NBA head coach and holds a 344-240 career record, having also coached the New
York Knicks before joining the Rockets.
“I am very appreciative to Mr. Alexander for displaying this type of faith and
confidence in the job we are doing here,” Van Gundy said. “When I arrived in
Houston nearly two years ago the goal was to return this team back to
championship form. While we’re not there yet, I think we have made some
significant progress over the course of the last two seasons and it’s nice to
know that our owner feels the same way. As a coach, the chance to compete for
a championship starts with a commitment to winning from ownership and I’m very
thankful that Leslie has been very supportive of me and my staff.”