From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Bickerstaff, Bernard T., Sr. "Bernie"

(born: 1944) 

Bernie Bickerstaff was born in Benham, KY. At the age of 25, he was head coach at the University of San Diego, the youngest college coach in the U.S. at that time. He went on to become the youngest assistant coach in NBA history when he joined the Washington Bullets [now the Washington Wizards] at the age of 29. From 1985-1990, Bickerstaff was head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics [who in 2008 became the Oklahoma City Thunder]; he was the first African American from Kentucky to be named a head coach in the NBA [the second was Wes Unseld and the third was Dwane Casey]. Bickerstaff was president and general manager of the Denver Nuggets from 1990-1997. In 2004, he was named general manager of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets, becoming the team's first coach; he returned as the head coach for the 2006-2007 season. Bickerstaff ranks 33rd on the NBA's winningest coaches list. Bernie Bickerstaff Boulevard in Benham is named in his honor. For more see Who's Who in America, 45th-48th ed.; Who's Who in the West, 22nd -24th ed.; and Bernie Bickerstaff, an NBA Coaches website.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Who's who in America
NKAA Source: Who's Who in the West

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Unseld, Westley S. "Wes"
NKAA Entry: Casey, Dwane

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Bickerstaff, Bernard T., Sr. "Bernie",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-03-22 00:48:08