Nate McMillan fills out coaching staff with Bill Bayno, David McClure

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan filled out his coaching staff, reuniting with Bill Bayno and bringing on David McClure as a player development coach, the team announced Monday.

Bayno has worked for three different NBA franchises, most recently the Raptors (2013-15).

Bayno has worked for three different NBA franchises, most recently the Raptors (2013-15).

“I worked with Bill in Portland, was impressed with him then and always hoped I would have a chance to work with him again,” McMillan said in the news release. “And David is one of the bright, young coaching prospects in our league who has played professionally with a great feel for development.”

McMillan confirmed earlier this month that he would bring back defensive wizard Burke — who Larry Bird called his first free agent this summer —  and big men coach Popeye Jones. Burke, who was first hired by Bird when he became head coach in 1997, will be entering his 20th season with the franchise. It will be Jones’ fourth.

“This staff has great versatility in its basketball knowledge in how they teach it and how they coach it,” McMillan said. “Dan has been a stable coaching influence for many years here and is highly regarded as one of the best coaches in the league. Popeye is a former player who has taken a true love to coaching, especially when working with our big men.”

As described to by one of his peers, Bayno is “a brilliant basketball mind.” He is terrific in player development and he connects with others very well.

The 54-year-old last coached for the Toronto Raptors from 2013-15. He also spent time with Portland (2005-08, 2009-11) and Minnesota (2011-13).

General Manager Kevin Pritchard said last month that hiring a third assistant would be “(McMillan’s) choice.”

It also comes as no surprise that they added an individual to focus on player development as they did with 30-year-old David McClure.

“Sort of what’s happening in the league is there’s three assistants and then now there’s a guy behind the bench, and then there’s workout guys, and we’re looking at that,” Pritchard hinted on May 16th. “We’re looking at maybe opening it up.”

Before now, Burke and Jones worked a ton with the players as did assistant video coordinators Jhared Simpson and Mike DiBenedetto. McMillan said on the Vigilant Sports Pacers Podcast one month after being promoted to head coach that they would indeed hire a player development guy, with the goal to do so before Summer League.

Well, he can check that one off his long to-do list.

“A lot of teams are going to a developmental coach. We will hire that position this year,” McMillan said on June 16th. “This will be new for us, where we will have a guy that is head of our developmental program.

“Our bench coaches will continue to work with our players, but we will have a guy that is strictly focusing on developing all of our players, coming up with a plan to improve them. Basically, he will be working alongside of the coaching staff, including myself, in the sense of we will let him know what we want these guys to do, the areas we want them to improve in, and he will come up with a plan throughout the season to improve our players.”

It’s likely that McClure, who played at Duke University from 2006-09, came recommended by Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. McMillan was an assistant Team USA under Coach K for seven years. McClure worked for the San Antonio Spurs in player development the past two seasons.

David McClure, 30, played one season in the NBA D-League and four years in Lithuania.

David McClure, 30, played one season in the NBA D-League and four years in Lithuania.

Both Pritchard and McMillan have a history of working with Bayno in Portland.

When Pritchard took over as Trail Blazers interim coach in 2005, replacing Maurice Cheeks, he hired Bayno as a player development coach. Those two go back to the University of Kansas where Bayno was an assistant for one season — Pritchard’s freshman season, 1986-87.

Still desiring to be a head coach, Bayno left Portland after three years to to become the head coach at Loyola Marymount in 2008.

“Bill Bayno has been invaluable to our organization,” Pritchard in 2008. “The best thing he’s done is work out our guys and become a great development coach, but he also helped a lot in the scouting department. He developed a very close bond with the players and that kind of experience he’s learned here in the NBA will help him in recruiting, developing and in scouting and preparing for games.

“Bill’s communication skills are off the charts. I think that’s the No. 1 thing that he does very well. He’s got a great emotional intelligence. We feel like it’s going to be very hard to replace him. I don’t know if you replace a guy like Bill. You do your best, but he brought a unique set of skills that I’m not sure one person could replace.”

However, Bayno’s stint at Loyola Marymount didn’t last long. He resigned after three games due to health concerns. He returned to the NBA a year later and worked for three different franchises for two seasons each.

In other staffing news, I can report that John Gray, Director of Team Security, has been let go. The former FBI agent worked every game and he managed security on road trips. This past season he was assisted on road trips by one other (rotating) member of security. Gray also worked home games for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

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