DETROIT (AP) — Jeff Bower is returning to the NBA, this time to join the front office of the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit announced Tuesday that Bower had been hired as the team's new general manager, part of an offseason overhaul in which Stan Van Gundy was hired last month as the coach and team president. Bower was the coach at Marist College last season, but he resigned that position Monday.
"I'm excited to join the Pistons organization and play a role in helping this franchise build on its great basketball tradition," Bower said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Stan, his staff and everyone in the Pistons organization to put together a team that the community can support and be proud of. I'm also excited about ownership's commitment to winning and their demonstrated commitment to the community."
The Pistons called a news conference for Wednesday to introduce Bower. Bower has been a general manager and coach in the NBA, holding both those positions with the New Orleans Hornets in 2009-10. "Jeff brings great basketball knowledge and NBA experience to our organization and he's enjoyed success in building teams," Van Gundy said. "He's a great evaluator of talent and Jeff will bring solid leadership to our front office."
Bower was the general manager of the Hornets from 2001-03 and again from 2005-10. Marist went 12-19 this past season under Bower, which was a two-game improvement from 2012-13. "I have a lot of respect for Jeff and the job he did in his time at Marist," athletic director Tim Murray said. "He laid the foundation for the program moving forward and I feel that this is a great opportunity for our next head coach. I wish Jeff the best of luck as he leaves Marist for a very specific and compelling NBA opportunity."
The Pistons went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars' tenure as team president. Van Gundy's coaching is well respected — he went 371-208 in seven-plus seasons with Miami and Orlando — but now he'll have the added responsibility of handling personnel matters. It's rare for one person to have that much control in the NBA, so Bower may play an important role in shaping the franchise's future.