Jeff Hornacek officially was announced as the new head coach of the Knicks on Thursday. Get to know the former Phoenix Suns head coach and NBA player with these fun facts.
— Hornacek was born on May 3, 1963 and raised in Elmhurst, Illinois.
— Hornacek was a walk-on at Iowa State, where he eventually set the school record for career assists (665) and became an All-Big Eight first team selection as a senior in 1986. The Cyclones made the Sweet 16 that season.
— The Phoenix Suns drafted Hornacek in the second round (No. 46 overall) in the 1986 NBA Draft. He was the third of three Suns second-round picks that season after Joe Ward (31st) and Rafael Addison (39th).
— Hornacek averaged 13.7 points, including a career-high 20.1 during the 1991-92 season, and 5.4 assists in 468 games with the Suns from 1986 to 1992. He was named to the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, where he scored 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting and had three assists.
— Hornacek was one of three players the Suns traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Charles Barkley on June 17, 1992. In an ironic twist, Hornacek reportedly saw Barkley request a trade on TV before a Suns playoff game and told VP of Basketball Operations Dick Van Arsdale, “That’s who we should get.”
— Hornacek spent a season and a half in Philadelphia, averaging 18.1 points and 6.5 assists in 132 games at point guard for the 76ers before being traded to the Utah Jazz midway through the 1993-94 season.
— Hornacek returned to his normal position of shooting guard in Utah, where he played alongside John Stockton and Karl Malone. He averaged 14.4 points and 4 assists in 477 games with the Jazz and helped them reach the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998.
— Hornacek is a two-time Three-Point Shootout champion. He won the All-Star Weekend event in 1998 and 2000. His .428 three-point shooting percentage is the best in Jazz history.
— Hornacek retired following the 1999-2000 season. He finished his career averaging 16.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as well as a .496 shooting percentage and .403 three-point shooting percentage in 1,077 games.
— Hornacek began his transition into coaching seven years later as the Jazz’s shooting coach. He then became an assistant coach under Tyrone Corbin following Jerry Sloan’s resignation in February 2011.
— The Suns hired Hornacek as their 16th head coach in franchise history on May 28, 2013, replacing replaced interim head coach Lindsey Hunter. The Suns won 48 games in Hornacek’s first season – 23 more than they had in their previous season – and Hornacek was runner-up to Gregg Popovich for 2013-14 Coach of the Year.
— Hornacek was named Coach of the Month for December 2013, becoming the third person at the time to be named both Coach of the Month and Player of the Month (which he earned in December 1991) as well as the first person to win both awards with the same team.
— Hornacek went 39-43 with the Suns in 2014-15, then was fired on Feb. 1, 2016 following a 14-35 start in which Hornacek lost 19 of his last 21 games.
— Hornacek’s No. 14 is one of 11 numbers retired by the Jazz and one of seven retired by Iowa State.