When Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder walks through the Zions Bank Basketball Campus, one wall always seems to catch his eye. The wall is covered with photographs of his assistant coaches, working with players, making them better.
“It’s fun to walk by and see those guys and know how much they’ve given to our program,” Snyder said. “Those are the guys who have laid the bricks of what we’re building from the foundation.”
That wall, however, will look a lot different this season.
As the Jazz begin training camp this week, they do so having seen three longtime assistant coaches leave for new opportunities. Johnnie Bryant is now the associate head coach in New York, Zach Guthrie is on the bench in Dallas, and DeSagana Diop has been hired on as an assistant in Houston.
“Our assistants are respected around the league,” Snyder said. “… To see them have a change, to move forward with their careers is rewarding.”
It has also presented Snyder with an opportunity to add new faces to his coaching staff:
• Dell Demps spent most of the last decade as the general manager in New Orleans. But Snyder had long known the former player wanted one day to get into coaching.
“We’d meet for coffee when I was [in the G League]. We’d go to the Starbucks across the street from the Austin Convention Center and talk,” Snyder said. “It says a lot about his passion for coaching” that he has taken this path to Utah.
• Keyon Dooling played for Snyder at Missouri before going on to have a long NBA career.
“Keyon has been a leader on every team he was on,” Snyder said.
Among Dooling’s responsibilities in Utah, the former guard has been tasked with taking over for Bryant as the lead assistant who works with All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.
• Sergi Oliva will also bring a new perspective to the Jazz staff. Oliva spent 12 years as a head coach at the youth and senior amateur levels in Catalonia before moving into a front office role in the NBA. Oliva spent six years with the Philadelphia 76ers, most recently working as Vice President of Strategy.
“He has a unique skillset,” Snyder said. “He helped build their analytics program. He’s teaching me as we go.”
Snyder said existing personal relationships with all three new assistant coaches has helped make a smooth transition.
“Change is always hard, but it can be something that’s beneficial as well,” Snyder said. “I’m really thrilled about those guys being here.”