CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — The Bobcats removed the interim tag from coach Paul Silas by rewarding him with a one-year extension on Wednesday after he helped get Charlotte into NBA playoff contention following a miserable start under Larry Brown.

“It’s a very exciting day for me knowing I’ll be here this year and next year and have a chance to really make this team special,” Silas said. “There’s a long way to go, but we’re getting there.”

Owner Michael Jordan’s decision comes less than two months after he fired Brown following Charlotte’s 9-19 start that left a fractured team. Guard Stephen Jackson said a change was needed because “nobody wanted to play” for the demanding Brown, who had routinely criticized his players.

The 67-year-old Silas brought a calming influence and a more uptempo, free-flowing style. He’s led the Bobcats to a 15-13 mark to get within 1½ games of the Indiana Pacers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Silas believes the Bobcats have a “very good shot” at making the postseason for the second straight season.

“My main goal when I took this job was to change the atmosphere, change the attitude and make the team more confident,” Silas said. “I think we’ve begun to accomplish those goals.”

Silas, a bruising rebounder who played 16 seasons in the NBA, hadn’t coached in the league for five years and survived a health scare three years ago that left him with life-threatening blood clots. Healthy again, he’s been able to turn a temporary position into a permanent job for the second time in Charlotte with two teams.

Silas was interim coach of the Charlotte Hornets in 1999 after Dave Cowens quit before getting the job full-time. Silas pulled off the feat again with the Bobcats.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.