May 29, 2015 / 9:15 PM / 3 years ago

Magic name former player Skiles as new head coach

(Reuters) - The Orlando Magic named Scott Skiles as head coach on Friday with hopes that the former Magic fan favorite can lead the team back to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Scott Skiles in Miami, Florida January 22, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

The 51-year-old Skiles, who spent five seasons of his NBA playing career with Orlando, succeeds James Borrego, who was named interim coach when Jacque Vaughn was fired in February after two-and-a-half seasons with the team.

Skiles compiled a .506 winning percentage in 13 seasons as a head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, including six trips to the playoffs.

“Our young roster will benefit greatly from Scott’s extensive head coaching experience and commitment to teaching smart, physical, unselfish basketball,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said in a statement.

“We believe in Scott’s ability to establish a culture of winning habits and accountability that will help guide our team in a positive direction.”

Orlando finished with the NBA’s fifth-worst record last season with a 25-57 record that left them 35 games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Skiles made his NBA head coaching debut 20 games into the 1999-00 season when he took over in Phoenix. He led the Suns to a 40-22 mark the rest of the way before upsetting the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the opening round of the playoffs.

During four seasons with Chicago, Skiles led the Bulls to three straight playoff appearances but he was fired early in the 2007-08 season after Chicago got off to a 9-16 start that left them last in their division.

Skiles led Milwaukee to an eight-game improvement in his first season in charge. They improved by 12 games the next year and made the playoffs. He mutually parted ways with the team early in the 2012-13 season and has not coached since.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes

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