Coach has history of turning teams around

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bernie Bickerstaff has been hired as the first coach and general manager of the NBA's expansion Charlotte Bobcats. The move, reported Wednesday by ESPN's David Aldridge, became official Thursday.

Bickerstaff, 58, previously led turnarounds in Washington, Denver and Seattle.

"He has always been a type of person who has moved teams who are in worse shape, and improved them dramatically in a few years' time," Bobcats vice president Ed Tapscott said.

Bickerstaff spent most of the last year as general manager of the WNBA's Charlotte Sting.

He has been an NBA head coach in parts of 10 seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics (1985-90), the Denver Nuggets (1994-96) and the Washington Wizards (1996-99), compiling a record of 338-348 (.493).

Bickerstaff said that he plans to coach "as long as it's fun" but that he and Tapscott have an understanding that he could step down as coach and retain the general manager's title.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.