Steve Clifford

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Steve Clifford
Steve Clifford in 2010.jpg
Orlando Magic
PositionHead coach
Personal information
Born (1961-09-17) September 17, 1961 (age 58)
Island Falls, Maine
Career information
High schoolNorth Country Union
(Newport, Vermont)
CollegeMaine–Farmington (1979–1983)
Coaching career1983–present
Career history
As coach:
1983–1985Woodland HS
1985–1989Saint Anselm (assistant)
1989–1990Fairfield (assistant)
1990–1994Boston University (assistant)
1994–1995Siena (assistant)
1999–2000East Carolina (assistant)
2000–2001New York Knicks (advance scout)
20012003New York Knicks (assistant)
20032007Houston Rockets (assistant)
20072012Orlando Magic (assistant)
2012–2013Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)
20132018Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets
2018–presentOrlando Magic

Steven Gerald Clifford (born September 17, 1961) is an American basketball coach who is the head coach of the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He previously was the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets.

Early life[edit]

Born in Island Falls, Maine, Clifford grew up in Mattawamkeag, Maine, until the third grade, when he moved to Vermont.[1] He played varsity basketball under Gerald Clifford, his father and head coach at North Country Union High School in Newport, Vermont.[2][3]

Clifford attended the University of Maine at Farmington, where he played college basketball for four years. In his final two seasons, he was team captain and was named Best Defensive Player. He graduated with a degree in special education.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

After graduating from college, Clifford became a teacher at Woodland High School in Maine. He also gained his first coaching experience at the school, serving as their head coach for two seasons while leading them to two tournaments.[2][5] He then served as an assistant coach at St. Anselm's College, Fairfield University, Boston University and Siena College. In 1995, he assumed the head coaching duties at Adelphi University and coached for four seasons under Keith Dickson, leading their team to four appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament, an 86–36 (.705) record and four consecutive 20-win seasons; he was the first coach in the school's history with back-to-back 20-plus win seasons.[5]

Clifford became an NBA assistant coach with the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets under Jeff Van Gundy and quickly developed a reputation as a defensive expert. He then was an assistant for Stan Van Gundy with the Orlando Magic.[2] He considers both the Van Gundy brothers as mentors.[6] He reached the NBA Playoffs in each of his five seasons with Orlando, appearing in the NBA Finals in 2009.

Clifford then joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012–13 as an assistant.

Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets[edit]

On May 29, 2013, Clifford was hired by the Charlotte Bobcats to be their head coach.[7]

Clifford implemented a defensive mentality in Charlotte during his first year as head coach turning the Charlotte Bobcats into a top five defensive team when in the years prior to his tenure they ranked near the bottom of the NBA in that category. He led the Bobcats to the 2014 NBA playoffs in his first year as head coach, during which he coached the Bobcats to a 43–39 record. The two years prior to him joining the Bobcats only had a combined total of 28 wins. He was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for April 2014 after he led the Bobcats to a 7–1 record leading to the playoffs. He finished fourth in Coach of the Year voting in his first year. On December 6, 2017, it was announced that Clifford would not coach indefinitely to deal with his health issue.[8][9] On January 11, 2018, the Hornets announced that Clifford was medically cleared to return to coaching[10] after a 21-game absence after dealing with sleep deprivation.[11] After the 2017–18 regular season, he was fired as head coach on April 13, 2018, after five seasons coaching the team to a 196–214 record total.[12]

Orlando Magic[edit]

On May 30, 2018, Clifford was named the head coach of the Orlando Magic.[13]

The Magic started the 2018–19 season by splitting their first 24 games before falling 11 games under .500 after a 126–117 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.[14] Despite the dismal start, Clifford led the Magic on a dramatic turnaround. On April 7, 2019, Orlando defeated the Boston Celtics 116–108 to clinch their first playoff berth since the 2011–12 season.[15] The win also clinched the Magic's first Southeast Division title since the 2009–10 season. This was the Magic's first playoff appearance since trading Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012,[16] ending the longest playoff drought in franchise history.[17]

Head coaching record[edit]


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Adelphi Panthers (New York Collegiate Athletic Conference) (1995–1999)
1995–96 Adelphi 23–7 17–5 2nd NCAA D-II First Round
1996–97 Adelphi 21–9 17–5 3rd NCAA D-II First Round
1997–98 Adelphi 22–8 18–4 3rd NCAA D-II First Round
1998–99 Adelphi 20–12 14–8 3rd NCAA D-II Sweet 16
Adelphi University: 86–36 (.705) 66–22
Total: 86–36 (.705)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Charlotte 2013–14 82 43 39 .524 3rd in Southeast 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
Charlotte 2014–15 82 33 49 .402 4th in Southeast Missed playoffs
Charlotte 2015–16 82 48 34 .585 3rd in Southeast 7 3 4 .429 Lost in First Round
Charlotte 2016–17 82 36 46 .439 4th in Southeast Missed playoffs
Charlotte 2017–18 82 36 46 .439 3rd in Southeast Missed playoffs
Orlando 2018–19 82 42 40 .512 1st in Southeast 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
Career 492 238 254 .484 16 4 12 .250

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clark, Ernie (June 12, 2013). "Maine native Clifford works way into NBA's head coaching fraternity at Charlotte". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Maine native Steve Clifford named Bobcats head coach". Bangor Daily News. May 27, 2013. Archived from the original on May 28, 2013.
  3. ^ Reed, Steve (May 28, 2013). "Charlotte Bobcats reportedly hire coach with Vermont ties". Burlington Free Press. Archived from the original on May 28, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  4. ^ "Steve Clifford". Archived from the original on May 28, 2013.
  5. ^ a b DiFillipo, Matt (November 25, 2011). "BASKETBALL: Clifford still learning". Kennebec Journal. Archived from the original on May 28, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  6. ^ Media, Mark (August 15, 2012). "Lakers assistant coach candidate profile: Steve Clifford". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 31, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  7. ^ "Charlotte Bobcats Name Steve Clifford Head Coach". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. May 29, 2013. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  8. ^ "Steve Clifford Status Update". Charlotte Hornets. December 6, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  9. ^ Reed, Steve (December 6, 2017). "Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford out indefinitely with 'health issue'". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  10. ^ "Steve Clifford Status Update". Charlotte Hornets. January 11, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  11. ^ "Hornets coach Clifford back to work after sleep deprivation". USA TODAY. January 16, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  12. ^ "Hornets Relieve Clifford of Head Coaching Duties". April 13, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Orlando Magic Name Steve Clifford Head Coach". May 30, 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  14. ^ Parry, Roy (January 29, 2019). "Paul George, Dennis Schroder shine as Magic fall 126-117 to Thunder". Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  15. ^ Parry, Roy (April 7, 2019). "Orlando Magic clinch playoff spot for first time in seven seasons with win over Boston Celtics". Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  16. ^ Bontemps, Tim (April 8, 2019). "Wins by Nets, Magic leave three teams on the Eastern Conference bubble". Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  17. ^ "NBA: Magic end lengthy play-off drought with win at Boston; Warriors earn West top seed by routing Clippers". The Straits Times. April 8, 2019. Retrieved April 9, 2019. With the win, Orlando ended the longest play-off drought in franchise history.

External links[edit]