Gary Payton will be the first basketball head coach at Lincoln University.
The basketball Hall of Famer told The Undefeated's Marc Spears that he accepted the job at the Oakland university that's launching its athletic program next season. He told Spears the opportunity to start a program from the ground up in his native Oakland attracted him to the job.
"I don’t have to go behind anybody to try to make a program become something or keep it going," Payton told Spears. "I can start it off with my own program with what I want to happen.
“And the reason I took it is because it’s in Oakland, California.”
'Our program is going to play D'
The job will be Payton's first head coaching job outside of the Big 3, where he's coached the 3 Headed Monsters. Payton played 13 seasons in the NBA primarily with the Seattle Supersonics, where he earned his moniker as "The Glove" for his lockdown defense. A nine-time All-Star and the 1996 Defensive Player of the Year, Payton also played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics before finishing his career with the Miami Heat, where he won a championship in 2006.
Payton was also an All-America point guard at Oregon State and intends to use his West Coast ties to recruit players in his image.
“It’s going to look something like me,” Payton said. “I’m going to get basketball players that’s going to work hard, going to grind, coming from that gritty, gritty neighborhood they grew up in. ... Our program is going to play D."
Lincoln will start play next season and already has a Pac-12 opponent lined up on the schedule, athletic director Desmond Gumbs told Spears. Payton hopes the program will help fill the void with the exodus of sports teams from Oakland.
“Everybody knows we losing all kinds of sports here,” Payton told Spears. “We lost the Raiders, the A’s want to leave because we’re not giving them an arena. The Warriors have left [to San Francisco]. So, we need something to spunk these people, these fans, back up."
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