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Report: Thunder promote assistant Mark Daigneault to head coach

Daigneault had been an assistant coach under former head coach Billy Donovan.

Mark Daigneault head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue gestures from the sideline at Landers Center in an NBA G-League game against the Memphis Hustle on March 22, 2019 in Southaven, Mississippi. Photo by Brandon Dill/NBAE via Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder are promoting assistant Mark Daigneault to head coach, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday morning. Daigneault had served as an assistant under former head coach Billy Donovan. Prior to becoming an assistant last season, Daigneault had coached the Oklahoma City Blue in the NBA’s G-League for five seasons. He won three division titles during his time with the Blue.

Daigneault is just 35 years old, which is on the younger side for an NBA head coach. The Thunder are going in that direction mostly because the team is in more a rebuild. Chris Paul has popped up in trade rumors and Danilo Gallinari could be on his way out in free agency. The team plans on building around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the slew of draft picks acquired in the Russell Westbrook trade. Daigneault will be a key part of developing young talent for the future.

Thunder president Sam Presti has praised Daigneault’s rise through the OKC organization the past six years, per the report. Daigneault was hired by the Thunder from the University of Florida prior to Donovan being brought in. Daigneault is a alum of the University of Connecticut, having played under legendary coach Jim Calhoun before graduating in 2007.