Originally written on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 5/18/12

CLEMSON, SC - JANUARY 13: Larry Drew II #11 and Marcus Ginyard #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels trap Tanner Smith #5 of the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum on January 13, 2010 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA (AP) -- Larry Drew is returning for his third season as the Atlanta Hawks' coach despite the team's first-round exit from the playoffs. The Hawks announced Friday the team is exercising its option on Drew's contract for next season. General manager Rick Sund says Drew "did an outstanding job" dealing with injuries and the NBA's condensed schedule. Drew led the Hawks to a 40-26 regular-season record before the team lost to the Boston Celtics in six games in the first round of the playoffs. It was a step back for the franchise after three straight second-round appearances. Atlanta had the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference despite losing All-Star center Al Horford for all but 11 games of the regular season. Horford returned in Game 4 of the Celtics series.
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