Watauga Democrat
June 15, 2007

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Buzz hired by Bobcats

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Buzz Peterson is leaving coaching to join Michael Jordan.

Peterson resigned Tuesday as coach at Coastal Carolina to become director of player personnel for the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan, Peterson’s former college roommate and teammate at North Carolina, is part-owner of the Bobcats and has final say on all basketball decisions.

Peterson was 35-25 in two seasons with the Chanticleers, who hired him after he was fired as Tennessee’s coach in 2005. Before his four seasons with the Volunteers, Peterson coached at Tulsa and Appalachian State.

“We appreciate everything that Buzz has done for the program and Coastal Carolina University since he arrived two years ago,” athletic director Warren Koegel said. “This is an opportunity that he felt he could not pass up. We wish Buzz and his family all the best as they start this new phase of their lives.”

Peterson, 201-134 in 11 seasons as a head coach, is the latest Jordan confidant to join the Bobcats since Jordan bought into the team last summer. Team president Fred Whitfield and general manager Rod Higgins worked with Jordan when he ran the Washington Wizards, while new coach Sam Vincent played with Jordan on the Chicago Bulls.

Last week, former North Carolina point guard Phil Ford left the New York Knicks to join the Bobcats as an assistant coach.

Peterson was a senior at Asheville High School when he beat out Jordan as North Carolina’s player of the year. Peterson then played with and roomed with Jordan, and the pair helped the Tar Heels win the 1982 national championship.

Peterson’s hiring completes a shakeup in the basketball operations for the Bobcats, who just completed their third season.

Bernie Bickerstaff, coach and general manager since the team’s inception, stepped down from both jobs and became executive vice president. Vincent and Higgins were hired to fill Bickerstaff’s previous roles, while Peterson will head the team’s scouting department.

Jordan tried to persuade Peterson to join the team for several months, but Peterson wanted time to decide whether to leave coaching.

Peterson met with Jordan and other Bobcats officials over the weekend. He returned to Coastal Carolina and told Koegel of his decision Tuesday.


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