The Memphis Grizzlies officially introduced Dave Joerger as their new head coach. Joerger has been an assistant coach with the club since 2006.
Joerger's promotion is sending the franchise in a new direction after its most successful era under former coach Lionel Hollins.
"I am ready for this opportunity," he said at a news conference Thursday morning at the FedExForum. "I have won in the past. I know how to win. We're going to win."
The 39-year-old has reportedly signed a four-year deal with the team worth about $1.5 million a season.
"This is a blue-collar town, and I'm a blue-collar guy," Joerger said. "I came up the hard way. I came up through the minor leagues."
Joerger was a successful head coach in the minor leagues and was the lead assistant under Hollins the last two seasons.
Hollins' contract was not renewed with the club, even after leading the Grizzlies to a 56-win season and the teams' first-ever Western Conference finals appearance. Hollins compiled a 196-155 record since becoming coach of the Grizzlies in January 2009.
He had been mentioned as the successor to Hollins even as ownership and the former Grizzlies coach were trying to patch things up. On June 10, team leaders decided they had reached an impasse and announced they wouldn't keep Hollins.
The Grizzlies also interviewed George Karl, the NBA coach of the year before being fired by Denver, Chicago Bulls assistant Ed Pinckney and former Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry. Through it all, though, Joerger's name remained the one that kept coming up.
Joerger will have a big first test Thursday evening during the NBA Draft.
The Grizzlies go into Thursday night's draft with three second-round picks - Nos. 41, 55 and 60. Memphis traded its first-round pick, No. 26 overall, to Houston in 2011 as part of trade for Shane Battier.
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