Doc Rivers is heading back East.
Just three days after the 58-year-old was fired on Monday, Sept. 28, as Los Angeles Clippers head coach, he has been hired to coach the Philadelphia 76ers.
By Saturday, Oct. 3, Rivers was enthusiastically discussing his new job and explaining how he’d already had a link to the franchise.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to be joining a world-class franchise, a franchise whose legend inspired my nickname,” Rivers said in a statement as he referenced Hall of Fame forward Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who starred for the 76ers in the 1970s and ’80s.
Two days earlier, on Thursday, Oct. 1, Sixers’ center Joel Embiid already was excited with the hire.
“Welcome to the city of Brotherly Love Coach @DocRivers !!!! Excited for the future and what we’re building here #PhillyForever,” tweeted Embiid.
ESPN reports that Rivers agreed to a five-year deal with the Sixers, which will bring him back to the Atlantic Division, where he coached the Boston Celtics before landing his Clippers job.
Rivers and his agent were contacted by Sixers general manager Elton Brand on Monday, Sept. 28, to see if he was interested in the position. By Wednesday, he was in Philadelphia and met with team owners David Blitzer and Josh Harris.
The former NBA player will be taking over for former Sixers coach Brett Brown, who was fired in August after his team was swept by the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs’ first round.
The playoffs also led to Rivers’ exit with the Clippers, which came after they blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals to the Denver Nuggets.
It was the third time that a team Rivers coached was defeated after being up 3-1, first happening in 2003 when he coached the Orlando Magic, and again in 2015 when the Clippers lost to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Rivers is the only coach in NBA history to lose a series three times after having a 3-1 lead.
Earlier this year, the Clippers acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, making the team instant favorites to at least make the Western Conference Finals. So the conference semifinals loss had many fans saying Rivers greatly underachieved by losing to the Denver Nuggets in that series.
But Rivers won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, which made him one of the most respected coaches in the league.
Rivers arrived in Los Angeles to coach the Clippers five years after that championship, where he led them to a 356-208 regular-season record in seven seasons. The Clippers also only missed the playoffs one time, in 2018, when Rivers coached.
In his entire coaching career, River has 943 wins, making him No. 11 on the NBA’s all-time victories list for coaches.