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Sports

Stephen Silas ’96 hired as Houston Rockets head coach

Silas played guard for Bruno men’s basketball from 1992 to 1996

By
Contributing Writer
Sunday, November 8, 2020

Stephen Silas ’96 played as guard during his time with the Bears from 1992 to1996, totalling 464 career points.

Stephen Silas ’96 became the first Brown alum to become an NBA head coach after being hired by the Houston Rockets Oct. 30.

Silas played in 84 career games for the Bears from 1992 to 1996, averaging nearly eight points per game as a senior and totalling 464 career points.

Following his time at Brown, Silas has had a long and successful coaching history.

In 2003, Silas began his coaching career working with his father Paul Silas as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff during LeBron James’ first two professional seasons. From there, He spent time as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors from 2006-10, working under Hall of Fame coach and offensive guru Don Nelson. Silas also worked with the Charlotte Hornets as a member of former head coach Steve Clifford’s staff for eight seasons, including the 2015-16 campaign in which the Hornets accumulated 48 victories, their highest win total in 14 years. Silas was later promoted to associate head coach of the Hornets during the 2017-18 season. 

Most recently, he served as an assistant coach under Rick Carlisle for the Dallas Mavericks this year, before receiving his long-awaited head coaching opportunity.

“I was an average basketball player,” Silas said, reflecting on his playing career during a Nov. 5 press conference hosted by the Rockets. “My fundamentals were fine, but everything else about my game was a little less than fine.” 

While playing underFrank “Happy” Dobbs, who served as Brown’s head basketball coach from 1991 to 1996, Silas was recognized as a special talent through his defensive presence.

Realizing his talents were better suited for coaching than a professional playing career, Silas set his eyes on coaching professionally, even when his peers questioned his decision to do so. “I have people ask me all the time why I wanted to be a basketball coach after having gone to Brown with an Ivy League education,” Silas said. “But it was always in my blood to be a basketball coach — especially being a coach’s son and all.”

Fellow Brown basketball alum and current Bears Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 praised Silas and congratulated him on the day of his hiring. 

“I’m thrilled especially as a former Brown basketball player myself and understanding the rigors of the coaching industry,” Martin told The Herald. “I’m honored to have a relationship with Stephen not only as a fellow alum, but as a peer who understands how hard he has worked toward this moment.”

Silas contributes to the mission of the Brown men’s basketball program of building “community and engagement,” according to Martin. Silas met with the team this past August as a part of the men’s basketball team’s “Black Excellence Speaker Series,” leaving a lasting impact on the players through his recollection of past experiences at Brown and in the NBA. 

“He’s very open-minded and a class act,” said current captain Tamenang Choh ’21. “He was telling us about coaching superstars like LeBron James and Kemba Walker, giving us insights on how they carry themselves on and off the court.” 

Forward Carsten Kogelnik ’23 appreciated how genuine Silas was throughout the event. 

“He took the time out of his day to talk about a variety of things that will help us grow as players and people,” Kogelnik said. “He has always been a big supporter of the team and we are proud to see our alumni doing incredible things while still giving back to the program.” 

Silas will now have the chance to share his wisdom with star players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook while still maintaining a lasting impact on his alma mater. 

“It is the community and engagement that Stephen embodies that separates him from everyone else,” Martin said. “Now he has the title of NBA head coach to go along with everything he does.” 

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