OKLAHOMA CITY — Today, the Thunder announced the hiring of Mark Daigneault, Dave Bliss, David Akinyooye, Brian Keefe and Mike Wilks as assistant coaches to their staff.
Oklahoma City elevated former Blue head coach Mark Daigneault to an assistant position with the Thunder. Daigneault coached the Oklahoma City Blue from 2014 on and also served as the Thunder’s Summer League head coach from 2016-2018.
Daigneault has also coached with the Thunder in the past. During the 2015-16 season, current assistant Maruice Cheeks underwent a hip surgery procedure that forced him to miss a few weeks. Daigneualt slid in to fill the void on the staff.
Dave Bliss was also elevated to an assistant from a player development role with the Thunder last season. Bliss most recently coached the Thunder’s Summer League team in 2019.
David Akinyooye has spent the last four years as an assistant of Daigneault’s staff with the Blue. Akinyooye also spent time with the San Antonio Spurs in a player development role during the 2012-13 season.
Brian Keefe reunites with the Thunder for the first time since 2013. Keefe was on the original staff in 2008 after joining the franchise in Seattle in August 2007. Keefe has spent the last three years as an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mike Wilks joins the staff after serving in a scouting/evaluation role with the Thunder for the previous seven seasons. Wilks also played for the Thunder from 2008-2009. He was injured during OKC’s inaugural season and only played in four games early during the 2009 season.
These new hires join Billy Donovan’s staff along with Cheeks, Vin Bhavnani and Billy Schmidt.
Previous assistants Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic left the Thunder to join the Phoenix Suns this summer. Bob Beyer also left OKC for Sacramento.
Brady Trantham has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for The Franchise since April 2018 and for Thunder Digest since 2016. He hosts a Thunder podcast with Madysson Morris “OKC-82 Podcast” which can be found on all podcast outlets, and is a featured co-host on the Franchise Thunder Insider’s Show on Saturdays from 10-12, in addition to weekly guest spots on “The Franchise Drive” on Tuesdays and “The Franchise Morning Show” on Wednesdays. Follow him on Twitter @BradyDoesSports