The Bobcats have hired St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap as head coach, according to league sources. An official announcement will be made at a press session in Charlotte. NFL lines
Dunlap is a slightly surprising hire as he has spent almost his entire career at the collegiate level, but he is highly regarded in NBA circles for his understanding of the game.
A week ago, the Bobcats had narrowed their decisions to Hall-Of-Fame coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana assistant Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder, sources declared. After initial interviews with Charlotte corporate management Rod Higgins and Rich Cho, Shaw and Snyder were brought in last week to interview with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.
Sloan pulled himself out of the running last week, and after meeting with Shaw and Snyder, Jordan made a decision to re-open the field and brought Dunlap back in for an audition on Monday, sources say. Impressed, Jordan offered Dunlap the job.
Dunlap, who is understood to favor an up-tempo style of play, will replace Paul Silas, whose contract was not replenished after Charlotte finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history this past season. The Bobcats were 7-59.
Longtime NBA assistant Tim Grgurich, who worked next to Dunlap in Denver while Dunlap was an assistant coach with the Nuggets, may join the Bobcats as an assistant, sources declared.
Dunlap presumed all obligations with the St. John’s program last season after head coach Steve Lavin took a leave of absence to deal with prostate problems.
Though Dunlap has more than 30 years of coaching experience in school and the pros, he has never been a head coach at the Division I or NBA level. A 2-time Division II national champion and Coach of the Year, he’s been an assistant head coach at Arizona and Oregon, as well as St. John’s.
Arizona went 21-14 in 2008-09, advancing to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 before ending the season with a loss to top-seeded Louisville in the NCAA Midwest regional semi final game. Dunlap joined Oregon’s staff in 2009-10 and the Ducks posted a 16-16 record.
Prior to working at Arizona and Oregon, Dunlap spent 2 seasons in the NBA with the Nuggets working under head coach George Karl.
“Mike Dunlap completely elevates every player and team he comes in contact with,” Karl said on the St. John’s athletic site.”He takes you from good to excellent. Name each top-level, top-notch coach in the game the only difference between Mike and them is their addresses. There is no one better.”
The Nuggets compiled a 95-69 (.579) record during his reign and made 2 playoff appearances, including a 50-win season for the 2007-08 Denver squad, a 1st for the franchise in 23 seasons.
Early in his career, Dunlap as well served as a helper coach at Southern California under George Raveling, and as an assistant coach at Iowa. He also spent 5 years as a helper at his alma mater, Loyola Marymount University.
In between, he spent 10 years at Metropolitan State College of Denver.