The Indiana Pacers have reached agreement with former UNLV head coach Bill Bayno to join Nate McMillan's staff as an assistant coach, the team announced Monday. McMillan previously confirmed that both Dan Burke and Popeye Jones would be returning to the bench next season.
Having previously worked with Rick Adelman in Minnesota as well as Dwane Casey in Toronto, Bayno will be the lone "new voice" in the locker room. Although, it may sound particularly familiar to the team's General Manager Kevin Pritchard, who once was coached by the Blue & Gold's new hire while playing point guard at Kansas. Years later, Pritchard, in his role as the director of player personnel for the Portland Trail Blazers, hired Bayno to coach the team's Summer League squad in Las Vegas. Bayno's work in the summer of 2005 parlayed into him earning a spot on the bench as a player development assistant next to (then) new-Blazers coach, Nate McMillan.
"I thought he was a very good coach for us and I hate to lose him," McMillan told Joe Freeman of The Oregonian at the time when Bayno opted to leave Portland in order to accept a longer term contract in Minnesota. "Billy brought an energy and kind of a spirit to the team and the bench. He did a real nice job."
Most recently, Bayno, 54, acted as coaching director at Adidas EUROCAMP, the only sanctioned international pre-NBA draft camp. Known for his development work with big men, he also ran drills with Kings draft pick Skal Labissiere at IMG Academy. Similar training will undoubtedly benefit Myles Turner, whose development will need to be hastened if he is going to anchor Indiana's defense beside Thaddeus Young next season.
Though McMillan was hesitant to place a label on the specific type of assistant he was looking for while participating in the Caroline Symmes celebrity softball challenge at Victory Field earlier this summer, it is clear he is pleased with the collective coaching mind of the staff he and the team have assembled.
"This staff has great versatility in its basketball knowledge in how they teach it and how they coach it," McMillan told Pacers.com. "Dan has been a stable coaching influence for many years here and is highly regarded as one of the best coaches in the league. Popeye is a former player who has taken a true love to coaching, especially when working with our big men. I worked with Bill in Portland, was impressed with him then and always hoped I would have a chance to work with him again. And David is one of the bright, young coaching prospects in our league who has played professionally with a great feel for development."
In addition to Bayno, the Pacers also announced the hiring of new player development coach David McClure, who played at Duke from 2005-09 and spent the last two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
"It was extremely hard leaving Nate and I really struggled with it," Bayno told The Oregonian back in 2011. "I've learned so much from him and owe him a great deal of credit for giving me my first chance to coach in the NBA. I truly believe he's one of the best coaches at any level in the world."
Five years later, the pair will have a chance to make good on that claim in Indiana.