Twenty-eight years after leading the Tigers to within one game of the NCAA Tournament Final Four in 1986, All-American Chuck Person returned home while spending 26 years in the NBA as a player, assistant coach and front office executive.
The most prolific scorer and third all-time leading rebounder in Auburn Basketball history, Person is in his second season on Bruce Pearl's staff at Auburn. The Brantley, Ala., native was promoted to Associate Head Coach in May 2015 after spending his first season as an assistant coach.
In his first season on Pearl's staff in 2014-15, Person was Auburn's defensive coordinator organizing the game plan for each opponent as the Tigers won five games against eventual NCAA Tournament teams, including eventual Sweet 16 Xavier, beating LSU twice along with Georgia and Texas Southern.
Person helped guide senior All-SEC second-team guard KT Harrell to become only the fifth Auburn player in the 83-year SEC history to lead the league in scoring at 18.5 ppg. Harrell was the first Tiger to lead the SEC in scoring since 1994.
Harrell turned in a memorable senior season in 2014-15 as he broke Chuck Person’s Auburn SEC Tournament record with 86 points as the Tigers won three games for only the second time in program history before falling to No. 1 Kentucky in the semifinals.
Harrell finished among the national leaders in three-point field goal percentage (43.4 percent, 10th), total three-pointers made (98, 18th), total points (648, 20th), free throws made (162, 23rd), three-point field goals per game (2.8, 33rd), points per game (18.5, 38th), free throws attempted (199, 44th), three-point field goal attempted (226, 54th), total field goals made (194, 76th) and total field goal attempts (428, 78th).
A force on the recruiting trail, Person helped Auburn land one of the best signing classes in program history in 2015, which included four four-star recruits. The class would be ranked as high as 10th-best in the nation and was graded as an A-minus by ESPN.
His 13-year NBA coaching and executive career along with his second season coaching at Auburn has seen him play and be on the staffs of some of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball in Bruce Pearl at Auburn, Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, Jack Ramsay of the Portland Trail Blazers and Rick Carlisle of the Indiana Pacers. Person played under Hall of Famer Sonny Smith at Auburn.
Person was also teammates with Hall of Famers David Robinson, Reggie Miller, Moses Malone and Gary Payton as well as future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.
Person was an assistant on the Los Angeles Lakers bench under Jackson when the Lakers won the 2010 NBA Championship. He worked closely with NBA MVP Kobe Bryant on his shooting and defense as well as All-Star Pau Gasol while with the Lakers.
Person was a four-year letterman at Auburn from 1982-86, helping the Tigers to their first three NCAA Tournament appearances in school history (1984, '85, '86), including a trip to the Elite Eight in 1986 and to the Sweet 16 in 1985. He led Auburn to its greatest NCAA Tournament run in history in 1986 by reaching the Elite Eight with wins over Arizona with Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr, No. 1 seed St. John’s by outplaying National Player of the Year Walter Berry and Mark Jackson and fourth-seeded UNLV with Armon Gilliam and Freddie Banks.
Person was named SEC Tournament MVP leading Auburn to the 1985 title while becoming the first team in history to win four games in four days.
Person, who played alongside fellow Auburn and NBA greats Charles Barkley and Chris Morris, is the all-time scoring leader in Auburn history with 2,311 points in 126 games without the 3-point shot averaging 18.3 ppg, sixth all-time in school history. He is also the school record-holder for field goals made (1,017), field goals attempted (1,899) and is third in total rebounds (940).
He holds three Auburn single-season records in scoring (747 in 1984-85), field goals made (334 in 1984-85 and second with 310 in 1985-86) and field goals attempted (614 in 1984-85 and second with 597 in 1985-86).
Person was a two-time All-American (1985, 1986), a three-time All-SEC first-team selection and was selected to ESPN's SEC Silver Anniversary Team. Nicknamed "The Rifleman,” he had his No. 45 jersey retired at Auburn on Feb. 18, 2006. He was an alternate for the United States Gold Medal winning 1984 Olympic Team, was the 1985 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year and played for in the 1985 World University Games.
Person was the fourth overall pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 1986 NBA Draft, Auburn’s highest NBA Draft pick in history along with Chris Morris by the New Jersey Nets in 1988.
Person’s 13-year NBA playing career was with five different teams scoring 13,449 points and 4,557 rebounds, averaging 14.7 ppg on 45.8 percent shooting, including 36.2 from 3-point range. In 1987, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year while averaging 18.8 ppg for the Pacers.
Person would play six years with the Indiana Pacers from 1986-92, two with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 1992-94, three with the San Antonio Spurs from 1994-98 and one each with the Charlotte Hornets in 1998-99 and Seattle Supersonics in 1999-2000, advancing to the playoffs eight times.
Following his NBA playing career, Person began his career in coaching as an associate to the head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2001-02 under John Lucas. He worked five years for the Indiana Pacers (2005-07, assistant coach under Rick Carlisle; 2002-05, assistant to the CEO/President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh); two years with the Sacramento Kings (2007-09, assistant coach under Reggie Theus); and four seasons Los Angeles Lakers (2009-13, winning the 2010 NBA Championship under Phil Jackson, 2010-13, assistant coach/defensive coordinator; 2009-10 special assistant coach/defensive coordinator).
Prior to joining Pearl’s staff at Auburn in April 2014, Person spent the 2013-14 season as an associate head coach for the Jeonju KCC Egis in the Korean Basketball League.
Person is married to the former Carmen Sudderth of Fort Wayne, Ind., and they have six children: Millicent, Tiffany, Niketta, Raven, Jasmine and Chuck Person Jr.; and six grandchildren: Taylor, Audrey, Jaylen, Devynn, Jeffrey and Cameron.