Kevin Ollie named interim head coach of Brooklyn Nets amid controversy

Sports Leadership Seminar
Kevin Ollie will head up the Brooklyn Nets.
DoD photo by Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp via Wikimedia Commons

Kevin Ollie has been named interim head coach of the Brooklyn Nets after dismissing Jacque Vaughn on Monday.

The 51-year-old joined the team’s staff as an assistant this season, his first working on the bench of an NBA team. A former guard who patched together a 13-year NBA career, Ollie rose to prominence as a coach with UConn, winning the national championship in 2014 and an American Athletic Conference title two years later. 

His six-year stint ended in 2018 following a 14-18 season but was at the heart of controversy shortly after when UConn was slapped with two years of probation and Ollie with a three-year show cause for “failing to monitor staff, not promoting an atmosphere of compliance, and allegedly providing false or misleading statements to NCAA investigators.”

In 2022, he was awarded $11 million from UConn after winning an arbitration hearing that questioned the “just cause” cited by the school to avoid paying his buyout, which was worth the same price.

Following a three-year absence, Ollie returned to coaching in 2021 with Overtime Elite — a league for 16-to-20-year-olds. He quickly garnered interest from NBA teams and was a finalist for the Detroit Pistons’ job last summer, which ultimately went to Monty Wiliams.

With the Nets, Ollie takes over a team that is in the middle of a nosedive. They went 21-33 in the first half but went 6-18 in their final 24 games before the All-Star break. The final straw of Vaughn’s two-year stint as Brooklyn head coach was a 50-point blowout loss to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 14.

Brooklyn officially returns from the All-Star break on Thursday where they take on the Toronto Raptors. With 27 games left in the season, they are just 2.5 games out of the final Play-In spot in the Eastern Conference. 

This story first appeared on amNewYork Metro, a Schneps Media sister site.