ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — The Milwaukee Bucks have officially added Nick Van Exel and Bob Bender to head coach Larry Drew’s staff as assistant coaches, general manager John Hammond announced Monday.
Bender will join the Bucks after spending the last nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks, the last three under Drew. Van Exel has been Atlanta’s player development instructor since 2010.
“Bob and Nick were both important pieces of my staff in Atlanta, and I’m excited that they are joining me on the bench in Milwaukee,” Drew said in a statement. “Bob’s merits as a coach have been proven through his past experience, and Nick’s successful career in the NBA gives him a strong platform to mentor and coach our players.
“They will be dedicated to the task of teaching and building up our young men in order for the Bucks to put a hard-working, committed team on the court.”
Bender began his coaching career as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, where he concluded his collegiate playing career. He was named the head coach at Illinois State in 1989 and stayed there until taking the head coaching job at the University of Washington in 1993.
After going 115-143 in nine years in charge of the Huskies, Bender was let go, and he immediately joined the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching staff as an assistant coach. Bender spent two seasons in Philadelphia before coming to the Hawks.
Bender is the only player to be on two different teams that made NCAA Championship game, as he was a freshman on Bob Knight’s 1976 Indiana Hoosiers and competed for the 1978 title with Duke.
A native of Kenosha, Wis., Van Exel spent 13 years in the NBA from 1993-2006. An All-Star in 1998, Van Exel averaged 14.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game in his career.
Before joining the Hawks’ staff, Van Exel spent the 2009-10 season as an assistant coach at Texas Southern.