PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 10: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Wells Fargo Center on February 10, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Doc Rivers: NBA champion coach on leadership, what it takes to win and Donald Sterling
07:48 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Doc Rivers has been officially named the next head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, the franchise said Friday.

“This is a great opportunity to come to a first-class organization with a team that has a talented roster of high-character players,” Rivers said in a statement.

“It’s amazing to come home to Milwaukee where at Marquette I learned the game of basketball from Rick Majerus, Al McGuire, and Hank Raymonds. A special thanks to ESPN for my time there. I’m truly grateful. Now, I’m excited to get started with the Bucks.”

The hiring comes after the Bucks fired first-year head coach Adrian Griffin after 43 games earlier on Tuesday, saying they were “working immediately” to hire their next head coach. Griffin had been with the team since June 2023.

Bucks General Manager Jon Horst said in a statement Griffin’s firing was a “difficult decision to make during the season.”

In a separate statement Friday, Horst said Rivers is a “proven, extraordinary leader.”

“As a championship coach, he’s widely respected as an established innovator, and the right coach to lead our experienced and talented team,” Horst said. A source with knowledge of the conversations told CNN earlier this week that the NBA veteran had accepted the offer.

Rivers coached the Philadelphia 76ers for three seasons before the team announced they were parting ways with him last May following three Eastern Conference Semifinals losses. At the time, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey described Rivers as “one of the most successful coaches in NBA history.”

The 62-year-old has also served as the head coach of the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics, who he led to an NBA championship in 2008.

During TNT’s “Inside the NBA” Tuesday night, co-host Shaquille O’Neal said he is “happy for Doc.”

“He does have championship experience. He does have experience with dealing with large-name individuals, superstars,” O’Neal said. “For so long, he’s just been surviving off that one championship so I would like to see him get another one.”

In a November interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Rivers said he begins each coaching season by telling his players, “I am human and I’m going to do my best, but I’m going to make some mistakes here.”

Throughout his career, Rivers said, he learned much of coaching is being a teacher.

“I got it wrong early in coaching. I thought you just coached basketball. And then I realized, no, you coach life, and that allows you to play better basketball,” he told Harlow.

Rivers explained he believes in order to be a champion, “you have to open up your heart.”

“You have to take a step out. You have to risk. You have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to give yourself to the team. … Just get over yourself. And when you do that, it all comes back to you,” he said.

The Bucks are tied for the second-best record in the NBA at 30-13 and will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

This story has been updated with additional information.