Heard, Ociepka Hired By Pistons

University of Tennessee student Justin Vukoder plays with his dog, Charlie, during a break between classes Monday, Jan. 30, 2006, at Sequoyah Hills Park in Knoxville, Tenn.
AP/The News Sentinel

Alvin Gentry, preparing for his first full season as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, has named Gar Heard and Bob Ociepka to his coaching staff, the club announced Wednesday.

Heard and Ociepka join current Pistons assistant John Hammond, who has been in the organization for the past five seasons.

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"I am very pleased to be able to add Gar and Bobby to our staff," said Gentry. "Together with John, they have nearly 30 years of NBA coaching experience and I know we will work well together as a group. My main priorities were to assemble an experienced knowledgeable staff that will work well together, focusing on the same long- and short-term goals. We achieved that in making these hires today."

Heard joins the Pistons after spending a year as an assistant under Larry Brown in Philadelphia. He began his 11-year coaching career in Dallas and served as the Mavericks' head coach for the second half of the 1992-93 season following the firing of Richie Adubato.

Ociepka was the Orlando Magic's advance professional scout last season. He has been coaching in the NBA since 1989, when he was hired out of high school by the Indiana Pacers. He stayed with the Pacers through 1993 before joining the Los Angeles Clippers for three years.

The NBA currently is locking out the players and the labor dispute has threatened to delay the start of the regular season.

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