The Charlotte Hornets have hired Charles Lee as their 12th head coach in franchise history

By Cameron Lee

May 9, 2024

Photo: Aaron Gash / AP

The Charlotte Hornets have hired their new head coach. After a long wait, following the news of Steve Clifford stepping down to take a front office position, Boston Celtics assistant Charles Lee has been named the Charlotte Hornets 12th head coach in franchise history.

Prior to working with the Celtics, Lee was an assistant under Head Coach Mike Budenholzer with the Milwaukee Bucks, winning a championship with the team in the 2020-21 season. Lee previously worked with Hornets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jeff Peterson and current Hornets majority owner Rick Schnall in Atlanta from 2014 to 2018, also under Budenholzer.

“We are excited to welcome Charles Lee as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets,” Peterson communicated in the press release. “Charles possesses a championship pedigree with a wide range of basketball knowledge and NBA experience, has a tremendous work ethic, and is a great communicator.”


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Like Peterson, who played college basketball at Florida State, Lee is also a former NCAA athlete, who played four seasons at Bucknell University, leading the Bisons to two-straight Patriot League Championships, earning Patriot League Player of the Year in 2006. Lee was also a part of the Bucknell team that upset the Kansas Jayhawks in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

After graduating from Bucknell in 2006, Lee played in the NBA Summer League and preseason for the San Antonio Spurs, before taking his talents overseas. He started his coaching career in 2012 at his alma mater, before accepting the job as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks in 2014.

“The opportunity to be the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets is a dream come true,” Lee said in the release. “The Hornets have a talented young core of players and I’m excited about our future and what we can build here. There are few places as passionate about basketball as the Carolinas, and I look forward to coming to Charlotte and getting to work.”

New Hornets head coach Charles Lee brings 10 years of NBA coaching experience with the Celtics, Bucks, and Hawks.

A native of Gaithersburg, Maryland, Lee, who is 39 years old, will bring 10 years of NBA coaching experience to help turn around a Hornets team that finished 21-61 (13th in the Eastern Conference) last season.

The Hornets also have the third-best odds to land the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The NBA Draft Lottery will air this Sunday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m.


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