EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles D-Fenders have hired Paul Woolpert, Brian Walsh and Jermaine Byrd as assistant coaches and have promoted Will Scott to assistant coach/video coordinator, it was announced today by General Manager Nick Mazzella.
“I am pleased to have Paul Woolpert, Brian Walsh, Jermaine Byrd and Will Scott join us as assistant coaches for this upcoming season,” D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens said. “Paul and Brian are veteran coaches who have won multiple championships throughout their careers. Both have been head coaches in the past, and their experience, leadership, and expertise will be invaluable to the organization as we begin this new challenge. Jermaine and Will are D-League veterans, rising young coaches, and have worked extensively with Team USA and the Lakers, respectively. It’s a dynamic staff, and all of us are focused on bringing championship level basketball to El Segundo.”
Woolpert adds nearly 30 years of professional experience to the D-Fenders staff. Woolpert spent the 2014-15 season as lead assistant coach for the Perth Wildcats in the National Basketball League in Australia, after spending the three seasons prior as the head coach of the Townsville Crocodiles. Woolpert served as head coach of the Tulsa 66ers in 2008-09, after spending the previous four seasons as head coach of the Yakima Sun Kings in the Continental Basketball Association. Yakima enjoyed continued success with Woolpert at the helm, winning the CBA Championship in 2006 and 2007, while setting a CBA record for winning percentage, finishing the 2007-08 season with a 43-5 record (.895). Woolpert got his start as a scout and video coordinator for the Seattle SuperSonics in 1986, remaining in the role until 1994. From 1995-2004, Woolpert served as a Continental Basketball Association scout for the Portland Trail Blazers. Woolpert would also coach in other capacities while maintaining those responsibilities, spending time as an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Yakima Sun Kings. Woolpert was promoted to head coach of the Sun Kings prior to the 1998 season, winning his first CBA Championship in 2000.
Walsh joins the D-Fenders staff after spending the 2014-15 season as assistant coach at Albuquerque High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Walsh spent the 2012-13 season alongside D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens as an assistant coach for Guaiqueries in Venezuela, after serving as an assistant coach in Belarus, China and Vietnam. In 2006, Walsh got his first head coaching experience with Gambusinos De Fresnillo in Mexico, before joining the Colorado 14ers staff. Walsh spent the 2007-08 season as associate head coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, closing out the season as interim head coach. Prior to the 2009-10 season, Walsh took over as head coach of Al Ahli Professional Sports Club, winning the SBL U19 Championship, while reaching the semi-finals of the Arab Nations Cup. Walsh got his start at the professional level with the New Mexico Slam as head coach/director of player personnel, before joining the Baylor University staff as an assistant coach and lead scout. Prior to the 2004-05 season, Walsh joined the Dakota Wizards staff as assistant coach under head coach Casey Owens. The Wizards would finish the season with a league-best record of 32-16. Walsh would then serve as head coach of the Nebraska Cranes of the USBL in 2006, winning the USBL championship. After the season, Walsh joined the Colorado 14ers as an assistant coach. The 14ers reached the D-League Finals in 2007, with Walsh responsible for all scouting and player development responsibilities.
Byrd hails from Houston, Texas and returns to the D-Fenders after serving as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season. Byrd played a key role in player development, helping Jabari Brown, Vander Blue and Jamaal Franklin earn GATORADE Call-Ups. Prior to joining the D-Fenders staff, Byrd spent the 2013-14 season as an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls SkyForce. Byrd worked his way up within the Tulsa 66ers organization before joining the SkyForce. He served as an assistant coach for the 66ers during the 2011-12 season and was the team’s video coordinator the two seasons prior. In 2011, Byrd served as an assistant coach on the USA Men’s Basketball team during the Pan American Games, helping the team to a bronze medal. Byrd played collegiately at the University of Sioux Falls and led the team to its first NAIA Final Four appearance in school history.
Scott begins his fifth season with the D-Fenders and will continue in his role as video coordinator, while also serving as an assistant coach. Scott’s primary responsibilities include video editing, scouting upcoming opponents and assisting in on-court player development. Scott also assists the Lakers in the video room, and in the summer months he joins the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, serving as their video coordinator and actively participating in practices, having done so each of the past two seasons. While on campus at Indiana University, Scott worked as a student manager and acted as an assistant to the coaching staff. His duties included video editing, supporting practice drills and aiding with in-game operations.
Nina Hsieh returns for her seventh season as head athletic trainer for the D-Fenders. Hsieh monitors the health of the team and is responsible for injury prevention and treatment of the players. Hsieh also assists the Lakers training staff, joining the team for training camp, as well as traveling annually with the team to the NBA Summer League. Hsieh has functioned as athletic trainer for the UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team (2010-11), along with the women’s basketball team (2004-08).