Jim Lynam will return to the sideline after two years in the front office.
He takes over for Wes Unseld as coach of the Washington Bullets after two seasons as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. It's his third stint as an NBA head coach, having previously led the Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers.
He inherits a Washington team that went 24-58 last season and has not made the playoffs in six seasons.
"I missed coaching. There's no doubt in my mind," Lynam said when he was introduced Wednesday. "As a general manager, you're not as involved with the players and your involvement in the immediate competition is a step removed.
"It's not that I went to the games and said every night, 'I wish I was down there on the sideline.' But I had been coaching all my life, and I saw this as a terrific opportunity for me and this franchise."
Washington General Manager John Nash held the same post with the 76ers when Lynam coached them from 1988-92. They are close friends and, after Unseld resigned, Nash immediately pursued Lynam.
"I've watched him instruct, motivate and get the most out of his players," Nash said. "He's going to have a terrific run here in Washington. I'm convinced of that. I would stack Jim Lynam's coaching ability against anyone else in the country."
The Bullets have been rebuilding for several years, and Lynam said there is still plenty of work to be done.
Lynam, 52, didn't have much to work with when he took over for Matt Guokas as Philadelphia's coach in the middle of the 1987-88 season. The 76ers went 16-23 the rest of that year, but Philadelphia made the playoffs three consecutive times after that and also captured an Atlantic Division title.
Lynam hopes to do something similar with the youthful Bullets, who could certainly use some direction after last season.
"I think I've been identified as being a pretty good motivator of players," Lynam said.
Lynam, who had a coaching record of 246-264 with the Clippers and 76ers, might have trouble getting the Bullets into the playoffs next season. But owner Abe Pollin is convinced the team is headed in that direction.
"I want another ring and I'm not going to quit until I get another ring," Pollin said, referring to the franchise's last NBA title in 1978. "I think Jim is one of the guys who can help bring us that ring."