Hornets fire head coach Steve Clifford after 5 seasons

Steve Clifford finishes his tenure with a 196-214 record in Charlotte, including a 36-46 record in each of the past two seasons.

Kahron Spearman

The Charlotte Hornets have fired head coach Steve Clifford on Friday after five seasons.  


The Hornets finished a disappointing 10th in the Eastern Conference at 36-46 - the same record the team finished with 2016-2017. Clifford ends his tenure with a 196-214 record and two playoff appearances.


Exacerbating the team's issues with taking the next step, Clifford missed approximately a month for stress-related reasons. 

I dont have my head in the sand (as far as) what this head-coaching is all about. I dont care how many years you have left on your contract. You can get fired in one week in this league.

"I never, ever want to go through that again, feel that way again, and I don't believe I'll ever have to," Clifford said after his return from health issues. "What doctors have done for me is not only given me a plan to help me feel better physically, but they've educated me on how headaches work. In my case, it's not just how I did the coaching thing; it's how I lived."


New GM Mitch Kupchak, who reasonably wanted to hire his own coach, has walked into a rough financial situation with the Hornets, as they have almost no financial flexibility in the offseason. They will be about $18.5 million over the salary cap next season, according to Spotrac.