CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As a player Patrick Ewing never envisioned himself as an NBA head coach.
Now he can’t wait to become one.
The Hall of Famer who played 17 seasons in the NBA and has spent nine more as an assistant coach said he’s not angry about being passed over again for a head coaching job.
The 50-year-old Ewing said it’s only going to drive him to work harder to reach that ultimate goal.
“Every now and again I’m discouraged, but I look at it like, ‘Hey, I’m going to keep on working,” Ewing told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Right now I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be coaching in the league. Every experience is a learning experience.”
Ewing was out of the league last year, but was hired in June by Bobcats coach Steve Clifford as the team’s associate head coach. The two previously worked together for eight seasons as assistants with the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets.
“It was a no-brainer,” Clifford said of the hire.
Ewing interviewed for the Charlotte head coaching vacancy last summer, and for Detroit’s in 2011.
“When I interviewed for the Bobcats job here and didn’t get it, I didn’t think it was in the cards for me,” Ewing said. “But when Cliff got the job this year, I thought it was a great opportunity. Being the first assistant, that’s going to be a great learning experience and will allow me to continue my tutelage and hopefully become a very good NBA coach someday.”
It even surprises Ewing that he wants so badly to become a head coach.
“When I was playing in the NBA I never thought I would want to be a coach,” Ewing said.
But in some ways Ewing was a coach at the time.