First-year Head Coach Connor Johnson completes his bench with three new assistant coaches; Former Blue Coat Ty Abbott named Manager of Player Development
WILMINGTON, DE – SEPTEMBER 14, 2018 – Philadelphia 76ers Vice President of Basketball Operations & Delaware Blue Coats General Manager Elton Brand today announced that the team has added Chase Buford, Jason Crafton and Kelly Peters as assistant coaches. The trio joins first-year Head Coach Connor Johnson, who was named to his position on June 18.
“We are extremely excited to bring in a group of assistants with a wide range of experience at all levels of basketball in Chase, Jason and Kelly,” said Brand. “Their commitment to player development and culture is a great fit for our program. The energy and strength of our entire staff, from Connor on down, will guide our historic first season at the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington.”
In addition, the team added former player Ty Abbott as Manager of Player Development and named Daniel Erickson as Head Athletic Trainer. Matt Lilly enters his fourth year with the organization and second season as Director of Basketball Operations & Scouting. Cliff Spiller, who was named the first Head Strength & Conditioning Coach in franchise history last season, also returns.
Johnson enters his first season as Head Coach for the Blue Coats after spending the 2017-18 season as the Director of Player Development and Coaching Administration for the Philadelphia 76ers, where he played an integral role on Head Coach Brett Brown’s staff as the team clinched a 50-plus win season for the first time since 2000-01. In his position, Johnson led the team’s efforts in player development and coaching logistics. Johnson spent the previous two seasons (2015-17) as the team’s video coordinator. Before joining the Sixers in 2014, Johnson served as a graduate assistant with the Villanova men’s basketball program under Head Coach Jay Wright. A native of San Diego, California, Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree in public administration from Villanova.
Assistant Coach Chase Buford comes to Delaware after serving last season as an Assistant Coach for the Erie BayHawks, the G League Affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks. From 2015-17, Buford was Coordinator of Player Development for the Chicago Bulls under Head Coach Fred Hoiberg. Buford’s career in professional basketball began in 2012 as a Regional Scout with the Atlanta Hawks before he was promoted to Video Intern. Buford attended the University of Kansas, where he was a three-year member of the basketball program. He appeared in 35 career games for Head Coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks.
Assistant Coach Jason Crafton makes his way to the Blue Coats after serving as Head Coach at his alma mater, Nyack College (NY), since 2012. Recently, Crafton was selected by the non-profit organization Athletes in Action (AIA) to lead a team that competed in Auckland, New Zealand this past summer. Prior to returning to Nyack, Crafton was an Assistant Coach at The United States Naval Academy for seven seasons and was promoted to Associate Head Coach in 2010. Crafton started his career as an Administrative Assistant and Video Coordinator at Villanova University, where he helped the Wildcats to the NIT Quarterfinals in 2004 and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2005. As a player, Crafton was a member of Nyack’s first-ever conference championship team in 2000.
Assistant Coach Kelly Peters joins the Blue Coats after spending last season as an Assistant Coach with the Texas Legends, the G League Affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. He entered the G League as an assistant with the Santa Cruz Warriors during the 2016-17 season. Prior to Santa Cruz, Peters worked in the NBA for two seasons as an advanced scout/video coordinator for the Golden State Warriors where they won the NBA championship his first year and 73 games his second.
Ty Abbott, who played for Delaware last season, begins his coaching career as the team’s Manager of Player Development. Abbott saw action in more than 50 regular season contests, starting 40 of them. The former Blue Coats guard graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. He was a team captain for the Sun Devils.
Dan Erickson, MS/ATC/CSCS, enters his first season with the Blue Coats after spending the previous four seasons with the Orlando Magic. He spent the 2014-15 season as an Athletic Trainer Associate before being promoted to Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. Erickson holds a Bachelor of Science and a master’s degree in athletic training from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.