College - St. Thomas Acquinas
Longtime NBA assistant coach Gordon Chiesa begins his first season on the Grizzlies’ bench. He spent last season with the Seattle SuperSonics, but is most known in NBA circles for the 16 seasons he spent as an assistant with the Utah Jazz (1989-90 – 2004-05).
While with Utah, Chiesa was directly involved with the development of the team’s offensive skills and was in charge of game preparation for all opponents. During his tenure with the Jazz, Chiesa helped guide Utah to two Western Conference crowns, three Midwest Division championships, a record of 809-471 (.632) and 14 consecutive postseason appearances, including 149 playoff games.
Chiesa’s career in the sports world began on the collegiate level as the athletic director and head basketball coach at his alma mater of St. Thomas Aquinas in Sparkill, N.Y. At St. Thomas Aquinas, he guided the Spartans to three 20-win seasons and several postseason tournaments.
Following his tenure at St. Thomas Aquinas, Chiesa served as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College from 1979 through 1981. He then accepted the head coaching position at Manhattan College where he coached from 1981 through 1985 and was named the Metro Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1983. Chiesa joined Rick Pitino’s staff at Providence College as an assistant coach from 1985 through 1987, before succeeding Pitino as head coach for the 1987-88 season.
Chiesa is one of a select few assistant coaches to serve in both the NBA Finals (Utah vs. Chicago in 1997 and 1998) and the NCAA Final Four (Providence vs. Syracuse in 1987).
As a college student, Chiesa played the point guard position and left St. Thomas Aquinas as the school’s all-time leader in career assists (448) and assist average (8.1 apg). He led the Spartans to a 21-6 record and a league title his senior year.
Chiesa is a native of Union City, New Jersey, and in January of 2001 he was inducted into the Hudson County, New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements as a college and professional basketball coach.Chiesa and his wife, Nancy, have two sons, Matthew and Craig.