Popovich Tree Grows: Budenholzer Gets Hawks Job

Yesterday, the Atlanta Hawks announced Mike Budenholzer as their new head coach.  Budenholzer previously was an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, where he’s been since 1994.  Budenholzer, an Arizona native, started as a video coordinator before making his way up the ranks to Greg Popovich’s number one assistant in 2007.  A graduate of Pomona College, where he lettered in basketball and golf, Budenholzer is just another member of Popvich’s staff that has made the transition from assistant to head coach.  The following head coaches have also spent time as an assistant under  Popovich.

Mike Brown: Brown served as an assistant coach for the Spurs from 2000-2003 and coached their summer league teams in Boston and Salt Lake City.  After a brief stint as an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers, Brown became a head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005.  Brown coached in Cleveland until 2010 when he took a year off as an ESPN analyst.  Brown then returned to coaching as he coached the Lakers for the ’11-’12 season and started the ’12-’13 season.  After a disappointing 1-4 start, Brown was fired and relieved of his duties.  Brown was recently rehired by Cleveland to coach the 2013 season.  Brown’s all-time NBA coaching record: 481-314 (65.3%)

P.J. Carlesimo:  [Carlesimo was a head coach from 1994-2000 for Portland and Golden State.  We will only focus on his coaching after his time as Popovich’s assistant.] Carlesimo served under Popovich from 2002 to 2007.  In July 2007, Carlesimo accepted an offer to become the head coach of the Seattle Supersonics.  The Supersonics eventually relocated to Oklahoma City and adopted a new name, the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Carlesimo, like Brown, was fired mid-season after a rocky start (1-12).  This past season, Carlesimo was named interm head coach for the then 14-14 Brooklyn Nets after Avery Johsnon was fired.  The Nets were 35-19 under Carlesimo, however this apparently was not enough.  Carlesimo was fired as interim head coach after the Nets bowed out of the first round of the playoffs.  Carlesimo’s NBA coaching record [after his time with San Antonio]: 56-93 (37.5%)

Jacque Vaughn: After finishing his career by playing three seasons with the Spurs, Vaughn served as an assistant under Popovich from 2000-2012.  Vaughn was then named head coach for the Orlando Magic where he recently led them to a 20-62 season.  Vaughn’s all-time NBA coaching record: 20-62 (24.39%)

George Karl and Tom Thibodeau also served as assistants in the Spurs organization, however they were there before Popovich was head coach.

With the recent hire of Budenholzer, four of Popovich’s former assistants have now gone on to become head coaches.  Budenholzer would be best to follow in Brown’s footsteps; Brown is the only one with a winning record as a head coach.  Coaching a LeBron would be pretty helpful too.

Good luck Mike.  Make Papa Gregg proud.

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Posted on May 29, 2013, in NBA and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Not always a great coach can become a great head coach. It seems the aura of Popovich influence that people makes some wrong decisions. One thing is to work for him an another is to work as head coach leading a players´ team and assistants coaches´ team. I think as well, that people expect too much from one coach what he really need is a very group of good players (or some of them) to be successful. Would M. Brown have a winning record without L. James? Idon´t think so, and G. Karl and T. Thibodeau without their teams? Neither. You must be a very good coach, but you need to have a good luck with the team you are going to coach and with the assistant coaches you are going to work with. A good example of this last thing is F. Vogel the head coach of Indiana Pacers: he´s got a very good team in both cases.

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