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At the start of his first news conference as the Atlanta Hawks coach Womens Aaron Rodgers Jersey , Lloyd Pierce looked down at a row filled with four of his new players.

His thoughts immediately turned to his passion: Defense.

”If we weren’t doing this press conference right now, I’d probably have these guys doing some defensive drills,” Pierce said Monday. ”That’s who I am.”

Pierce, the former Philadelphia 76ers assistant whose agreement to become the Hawks coach was announced Friday , said his first priority will be assembling a staff. Pierce will be looking for assistants who share his passion for defense and his proven ability to connect with young players.

A young Atlanta roster is about to add much more youth in next month’s NBA draft.

The Hawks leaned heavily on such young players as rookie John Collins and second-year forward Taurean Prince this season. More youth is coming in the June 21 NBA draft. The Hawks have three first-round picks and hope to land the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery.

Pierce worked as an assistant with Cleveland, Golden State and Memphis before his five years with Philadelphia. His role in the 76ers’ rebuilding process was especially important to the Hawks, who face a similar challenge after posting the worst record in the Eastern Conference this season.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said Pierce’s ”experiences in Philadelphia, keeping that positive vibe, that winning environment with what they went through” helped make him the right fit for the Hawks.

Four Hawks players – DeAndre Bembry, Mike Muscala, Kent Bazemore and Isaiah Taylor – sat together during the news conference.

Bazemore said other players around the league have sent him messages ”saying we got a good one.”

”I’m excited,” Bazemore said. ”… Bringing in a defensive-minded guy is important because that’s where championships are won. If we start there, I believe everything else will fall into place.”

Bembry said Pierce’s long record as an assistant, especially with the 76ers, who advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals Joe Looney Jersey , earns him immediate credibility.

”You instantly have to respect what he’s done,” Bembry said. ”He damn sure earned his first head coaching job.”

One of Pierce’s former Philadelphia players, Robert Covington, also attended the news conference. He said he already was in Atlanta while visiting a family member and so he wanted to show his support for Pierce.

”He’s helped me so much in my career, it’s only right that I be here as well,” Covington said.

Asked if he has any doubt Pierce is ready to become a head coach, Covington said ”Absolutely not. I’ve seen coach develop and grow. … He definitely is a great coach.”

Schlenk said he was won over in his first of three interviews with Pierce. He said he told assistant GM Jeff Peterson midway through that interview at a Philadelphia airport hotel that Pierce was their guy.

”I just wrote on a little piece of paper and slid it over to Jeff and said `I told you, we’d know,”’ Schlenk said.

Pierce joked Monday he wished he had been passed that note.

”I’m just trying to figure out how I missed them sliding papers around,” Pierce said. ”They were taking notes but I didn’t really see that exchange. I was focused on my presentation more than anything.”

That presentation was on the mark.

”He answered every question right,” Schlenk said.

A Hawks group that also included majority owner Tony Ressler met with Pierce in Boston on Tuesday, followed by a third interview in Atlanta on Friday – hours before the team announced an agreement with Pierce.

Pierce, 42, fills the position left vacant when the Hawks and former coach Mike Budenholzer mutually agreed to part ways as Budenholzer interviewed for other jobs, most recently with the Bucks.

Schenk again said Monday he and Budenholzer remain on good terms. ”I talked with him a couple days ago Womens Randall Cobb Jersey ,” Schlenk said. ”No hard feelings at all.”



Fresh off their first Super Bowl title, the Philadelphia Eagles arrived home to a hero’s welcome Monday afternoon, hours after overjoyed fans mobbed the streets in a sometimes unruly victory celebration nearly 60 years in the making.

Hundreds of fans greeted the team’s plane at Philadelphia International Airport, cheering wildly and singing ”Fly Eagles Fly” as Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie emerged with the Lombardi Trophy.

After getting off the plane, Lurie, Coach Doug Pederson and stars like tight end Zach Ertz and running back LeGarrette Blount approached the chain-link fence separating the team from the fans, smiling, pumping their arms and shooting video with their phones. Fans stood on cars and news trucks to catch a glimpse.

”It’s been a long journey to redemption,” said John Hall, 49, who works at Philadelphia’s public transit agency. ”We don’t have to hear the negative anymore, that we don’t have a ring. It’s official now.”

Dan Mazzoli, 53, a disabled construction worker and die-hard fan from New Jersey, shared the moment with his 12-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.

”We’ve been waiting for this all our lives Jonathan Marchessault Jersey ,” he said.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, the unassuming backup quarterback who took over for injured star Carson Wentz and played brilliantly throughout the playoffs, wasn’t on the team plane. Foles headed – where else? – to Disney World, riding a float at the Orlando resort and fist-bumping Mickey Mouse amid a shower of green confetti.

”It’s all right to yell,” he told the cheering crowd. ”We’re world champs! We did it! We did it!”

The underdog Eagles won their first NFL championship since 1960 on Sunday night with a surprise 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots, ending a drought that had long tormented the city’s football-crazed fans. Philly was the only team in the Northeast Corridor to have never won a Super Bowl.

The city scheduled a victory parade for Thursday along a 5-mile route that will stretch from the Eagles stadium complex to the steps of the Philadelphia art museum, whose steps Sylvester Stallone ran up during ”Rocky.” It’s a fitting ending point for a team that Stallone had cheered on throughout the playoffs.

Revelers along the parade route will be able to indulge in free Bud Light at two dozen bars, thanks to a promise the beer maker made to Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson before the season.

Philly had some cleaning up to do Monday after pockets of Eagles fans turned unruly overnight, with rowdies smashing department store windows, looting a gas station convenience store and toppling a number of the city’s famously greased light poles. The police commissioner said he and other officers were hit with bottles.

The vast majority of revelers celebrated peacefully, and police made only three arrests, said Ajeenah Amir, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney.

”Tens of thousands came out and celebrated this amazing victory, and but for a handful of bad actors, the celebration was peaceful and jubilant Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jersey ,” Amir said. She lauded police for ”their assistance in getting the crowds dispersed and people home safely.”

Just as Foles and the Eagles clinched victory in Minneapolis, the scene more than 1,000 miles away in Philly was one of jubilation and pandemonium.

Revelers shot off fireworks, drivers beeped their horns and Philadelphians young and old descended on Broad Street, the main thoroughfare that last hosted a major championship parade in 2008 for the Phillies’ World Series win.

”The city deserved it,” said 66-year-old Lou Potel, who threw a party at his home just off Broad before joining a much bigger party outside. ”It’s a great city, and now we have a Super Bowl to go along with it.”

Fans clambered atop the awning at the swanky Ritz Carlton Hotel near City Hall, jumping off into the crowd in what one Twitter post called ”Ritz Carlton Skydiving.” The awning later collapsed with a large group of people on top of it. It wasn’t clear if anyone was injured.

Nearby, windows were smashed at a Macy’s department store and at an Old Navy clothing store.

And apparently no amount of grease in the world can keep some drunken Eagles fans from climbing poles in celebration. A few managed to shimmy up traffic lights and street sign poles.

Amir said there were reports of some injuries from falls near light poles but precise numbers weren’t available.

Vandals were seen having an apparent food fight inside a gas station’s convenience store, yelling ”Everything is free!” and overturning a car outside a hotel. After 1 a.m., the only people allowed inside the 24-hour Wawa convenience store near City Hall were police officers.



Associated Press writers Kristen De Groot in Philadelphia and Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania contributed to this report.

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