Joe Wolf has earned the respect of Milwaukee Bucks players in his last four years as part of Scott Skiles' coaching staff.

And now the Wisconsin native is taking on an increased role as the lead assistant under new coach Jim Boylan.

It's been quite a rise for the 48-year-old Wolf, who was hired as the fourth assistant when Skiles took over in 2008.

Then Lionel Hollins left to become head coach at Memphis, and Wolf became the third assistant. Then Kelvin Sampson went to Houston last year, and Wolf moved up to second assistant. Now Skiles has departed and Wolf is Boylan's right-hand man.

"I have to be more aware of game situations," Wolf said of his new role. "Fouls, timeouts, mismatches coming out of timeouts. All can be discussed.

"Being in the first chair, it's important he (Boylan) can hear my voice and my thoughts."

Where it all leads will depend on the success the Bucks have the rest of the season under Boylan. But it's clear Boylan is comfortable with Wolf and is giving the staff some added duties after taking over for Skiles last week.

The Bucks are 4-2 under Boylan and 2-1 on their current road swing. They head into the final stop of their four-game trip when they play the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at the Rose Garden.

Wolf, who played 11 years in the NBA and under Dean Smith at North Carolina, has worked closely with the Bucks big men. And at least some of the dramatic improvement made by center Larry Sanders can be attributed to the work they have done together, both in the off-season and in practice during the season.