Coach 13

By Alex Boeder


If you add up all of those numbers in the graphic, it will equal 1894. That number represents regular season wins the Bucks have accumulated since they started playing NBA ball back in 1968.

During that time, exactly 12 head coaches have called Milwaukee their team. That works out to one every 3.75 years, on average. But there really is no typical or average when it comes to head coaching.

All of the head coaches in franchise history are in the graphic above, along with the number of regular season games they won.

Cool part: The more games the head coach won, the larger their text size. In fact, the size of their name is scaled proportionately to the number of games they won compared to the other coaches. For example, George Karl (205 wins) is just slightly larger than Del Harris (191 wins). And the “s” in Don Nelson (540 wins) is alone larger than Larry Krystkowiak (31 wins).

The graphic is courtesy of Wordle. I had made one of these a while ago, and I am going to make some more.

The 13th

The Bucks and Jim Boylan parted ways after the team fell in the playoffs in the first round to the Heat. Boylan went 22-28, and so his name is actually the smallest on the graphic, with those 22 wins. But it should be noted that his .440 winning percentage ranks a much more respectable sixth among the 12 coaches, so his name would be quite a lot larger if it was based on that.

In any event, the team is currently looking for its next head coach. How big will the next coach’s name grow on the graphic above?

Some people think that the number 13 is unlucky. I am not one of those people. I always pick #13 as my soccer jersey number. Kobe Bryant was the 13th draft pick in 1996. I have a friend getting married on Friday, Sept. 13 this year. And it is 2013. I rather like 13. It is my favorite number. I am excited for the 13th Bucks head coach.

The 12

Getting back now for a quick (three sentence max) history lesson on the first 12 Bucks head coaches.

Larry Costello

Larry Costello

Years: 1969-1977

Record: 410-264 (.608)

Highlights: Costello directed the team to its only NBA title in 1971 – a clean sweep of the Baltimore Bullets. He also took them to the Finals in 1974, where the Bucks lost in seven games to the Celtics. During the heart of his best four-year run with the team from 1970 to 1974, the Bucks averaged 62 wins per season.

Best Players: Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Bob Dandridge


Don Nelson

Don Nelson

Years: 1977-1987

Record: 540-344 (.611)

Highlights: Nellie began his storied NBA coaching career in Milwaukee, and re-built the post-Kareem era Bucks in short order. In his final eight seasons with the Bucks, the team averaged 53 wins, peaking with a 60-22 mark in 1980-81. They won the division seven of those years.

Best Players: Sidney Moncrief, Marques Johnson, Paul Pressey


Del Harris

Del Harris

Years: 1988-1992

Record: 191-154 (.554)

Highlights: Milwaukee made the playoffs in all four of his full seasons at the helm. His finest season was 1988-89, when the team went 49-33 and beat the Hawks in the first round. He ranks third in winning percentage all-time among Bucks head coaches.

Best Players: Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce, Alvin Robertson


Frank Hamblen

Frank Hamblen

Years: 1992-1992

Record: 23-42 (.354)

Highlights: Probably this early-January game, when his Bucks took down Michael Jordan (44 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds) and the Bulls. Hamblen took over from Harris for the final 65 games of the 1991-92 season, and the team was hot when they beat Chicago, but faded badly down the stretch.

Best Players: Dale Ellis, Moses Malone, Jay Humphries


Mike Dunleavy

Mike Dunleavy

Years: 1993-1996

Record: 107-221 (.326)

Highlights: Dunleavy began his Bucks head coaching career with a 10-3 start in 1992-93. Unfortunately, they lost 11 straight and never really recovered during his tenure. On a positive note, they were able to secure the #1 draft pick (Glenn Robinson) in 1994.

Best Players: Frank Brickowski, Vin Baker, Glenn Robinson


Chris Ford

Chris Ford

Years: 1997-1998

Record: 69-95 (.421)

Highlights: Ford presided over the beginning of the Ray Allen Era. And the young shooting guard had rather excellent rookie and sophomore seasons. On a completely unrelated but fun note, Ford is credited with making the first three-pointer in NBA history, in 1979.

Best Players: Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen, Vin Baker


George Karl

George Karl

Years: 1999-2003

Record: 205-173 (.542)

Highlights: Karl almost brought the NBA Finals to Milwaukee in 2001. Instead the team fell in seven games to the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals, but there was real, real hope in the city. Karl did not post a losing record in any season with Milwaukee.

Best Players: Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, Glenn Robinson


Terry Porter

Terry Porter

Years: 2004-2005

Record: 71-93 (.433)

Highlights: The Milwaukee native made the playoffs in his first season in 2003-04, and the team even stole a playoff road win against the championship-bound Pistons. But they fizzled a season later.

Best Players: Michael Redd, Desmond Mason, Toni Kukoc


Terry Stotts

Terry Stotts

Years: 2006-2007

Record: 63-83 (.432)

Highlights: He snuck into the playoffs in his first season at the helm, in 2005-06. That was also Andrew Bogut’s rookie season. Most memorably, Bogut hit a game-winner to top Tim Duncan and the Spurs that year.

Best Players: Michael Redd, Mo Williams, Andrew Bogut


Larry Krystkowiak

Larry Krystkowiak

Years: 2007-2008

Record: 31-69 (.310)

Highlights: These were tough times; naturally, starting with my first year really covering the team. Krystkowiak took over for Stotts and then didn’t make it through the next season, so he never even had a full season. On a lighter note, Bill Simmons campaigned for the team’s GM role, and Ramon Sessions put up some crazy box score lines.

Best Players: Michael Redd, Mo Williams, Andrew Bogut


Scott Skiles

Scott Skiles

Years: 2009-2013

Record: 162-182 (.471)

Highlights: Fear The Deer. Spring 2010 was a special time in Milwaukee, as the Bucks featured a defensive maestro in the middle, a rookie point guard with flair, and a supporting cast that just made every bit of sense for a couple months. The team had some other nice moments under Skiles, but that was the height.

Best Players: Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova


Jim Boylan

Jim Boylan

Years: 2013-2013

Record: 22-28 (.440)

Highlights: The Bucks looked like they could move up in the playoff bracket after acquiring J.J. Redick. The team put together its best run of the season just days after making the trade, winning five of six, including three on the road. But they could not move up from the eight spot and ran into the juggernaut Heat in the first round.

Best Players: Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Monta Ellis



Alex Boeder

My passions? Writing and the Bucks, to start. So it is good to be here. I have reported on media row for just about every Bucks home game since 2009-10 – almost all of that time writing for BrewHoop. I have also written for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, SB Nation, ESPN Milwaukee, Slam Online, etc. You can follow me on Twitter @alexboeder or email me at