UCF men’s basketball head coach Donnie Jones added to his staff this week, announcing the hiring of long-time NBA assistant coach Tom Sterner as the Knights’ Director of Program Development on Wednesday.
“Tom brings great coaching experience,” Jones said. “He’s been at the highest level, coaching in the NBA for 25 years with some great coaches. He understands culture, he has a lot of basketball wisdom and we’re excited for him to bring all of that to our program.”
Sterner has spent the last 25 years working on the coaching staffs of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and most recently the Toronto Raptors.
During his time in the NBA he has worked under great coaches like Chuck Daly, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle, Brian Hill, Dwane Casey, Matt Guokas and Eric Musselman. Sterner has also had the pleasure of coaching some legendary players in Shaquille O’Neal, Dirk Nowitzki, Grant Hill, Jason Kidd and Tracy McGrady.
“I’m really fortunate and thankful to Donnie for having me on his staff,” Sterner said. “I want to represent the university in a very positive way and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work at the collegiate level. This is a great learning opportunity and I’m proud to represent Donnie, the program, Coach O’Leary and President Hitt in the best possible light.”
After coaching high school basketball from 1981-87, and a stint with NCAA Division III’s Franklin and Marshall from 1987-90, Sterner began his career in the NBA with then newly formed Orlando Magic in 1990. After starting as a video coordinator under Guokas, he became an assistant coach on Hill’s staff in 1994. That season the Magic finished the season 57-25, won the Eastern Conference Championship and lost to the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.
Sterner continued as an assistant with the Magic with time spent under Daly (1997-99) and Rivers (1999-02) before moving on to a position with the Golden State Warriors. He worked under Musselman on the Warriors staff from 2002-04 before returning for his second assignment with the Magic.
Following another two seasons under Hill with the Magic, Sterner accepted a position on the Dallas Mavericks’ staff working with Carlisle. The Mavs reached the playoffs in both 2008-09 and 2009-10 with Sterner on staff, finishing the latter campaign 55-27 to win the Southwest Division.
A season working as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers was next for Sterner, who then got right back into coaching, accepting an assistant position on Casey’s staff in Toronto. Sterner helped Casey lead the Raptors back to relative prominence, winning the Atlantic Division and earning a playoff berth in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Sterner, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 1978 and master’s from Temple in 1990, lives in Orlando. He and his wife Marcia have two daughters; Malorie and Paige.