CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Even long after coaching his last game with Charlotte, it wasn’t unusual to see former coach Paul Silas hanging around the Spectrum Center.
“He’d sit you down and you’d have a good conversation,” said former Bobcat Matt Carroll of the late Silas, who died Sunday at age 79. “It really felt genuine.”
Carroll now works for the Hornets in a variety of roles. He was there for Silas final year with the team and it was not pretty.
“When I think back on that year, 2011-2012,” he recalled. “That was a lockout season and we were put in a tough position.”
The Bobcats finished with a 7- 59 record, and a .106 win percentage, the worst in league history. Yet when it comes to Silas’s legacy with the franchise, Carrol says the season should merely be regarded as a footnote. After all, ten years removed from his time on the bench, Silas remains the third-winningest coach in team history, with 193 victories earned during his two stints as the team’s bench boss.
“You know you could just feel it. He pushed us. He was hard on you when you needed him to be. He was tough.”
Every time he stepped on the court, Silas brought an edge. After winning three championships as a player, his coaching career began in 1980. But after a three-year stint as head coach of the San Diego Clippers ended in 1983, he had to wait 16 seasons to become a head coach again. That’s why Carroll believes from start to finish, Silas’ desire to prove himself never changed.
“He was the type of guy, late 60s, early 70s, that as a player, you didn’t want to mess with coach,” Carroll says smiling.
Silas second big break happened in the middle of the 1999-2000 season when Dave Cowens was fired as Hornets head coach after a 4-11 start. He would coach the team until they left Charlotte in 2002.
After the Hornets moved to New Orleans, Silas coached them for a year before he was fired in 2003. He then coached the Cleveland Cavaliers for two seasons, before coming out of retirement to coach the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010. His career finished with a 387-488 record.
But when discussing Silas, for Carrol it’s not about the wins. It’s about the man.
“You just knew he had your back.”
And as far as being a good person, he believes Silas finishing second to no one.