College - North Carolina
While the 2011-12 season is John Kuester’s first as an assistant coach with the Lakers, it marks the third season in which he has been a key fixture on head coach Mike Brown’s bench. Having helped mold the offensive philosophies of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, Kuester was subsequently hired as the 27th head coach in Detroit Pistons franchise history on July 9, 2009.
Rejoining the Pistons after serving one very successful season as an assistant coach on Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown’s staff during the team’s 2004 NBA Championship run, Kuester went 57- 107 (.348) in two seasons as head coach (2009-11) in Detroit.
A highly regarded coach and veteran of more than 16 years on an NBA sideline with six different franchises (Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey, Orlando and Cleveland), Kuester has coached some of the game’s top players including two NBA Most Valuable Players (LeBron James (2009), Allen Iverson (2001)) and NBA All-Stars Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Dikembe Mutombo, Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace among others.
Kuester, 56, began his NBA coaching career in Boston where he was a member of the Celtics organization for seven seasons (1990-97), serving as an assistant coach his final two years. The Richmond, Virginia native joined Larry Brown in 1997 and helped guide the Philadelphia 76ers to the playoffs in five of his six seasons with the club, including an NBA Finals appearance in 2001. Following Brown to Detroit for the Pistons’ 2003-04 championship season, Kuester served as an assistant coach on the New Jersey Nets staff in 2004-05, returned to Philadelphia for the 2005-06 campaign, was on the Orlando Magic bench in 2006-07 and was added to Mike Brown’s Cavaliers coaching staff in August of 2007.
Prior to joining the NBA ranks, Kuester led George Washington University for five seasons as its men’s head basketball coach from 1985-1990. In 1983, he became the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I college basketball when he succeeded Rick Pitino at Boston University, where he had served the previous two seasons as an assistant coach for the Terriers before his promotion.
A collegiate player for four seasons at North Carolina (1973-77) under legendary coach Dean Smith, Kuester helped the Tar Heels win two ACC Championships and make four postseason appearances (three NCAA Tournament berths and one NIT bid). As a senior, he was voted as the team’s best defensive player for the second consecutive season while earning ACC Tournament and NCAA East Regional Most Valuable Player accolades.
Selected in the third round (53rd overall) of the 1977 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings, Kuester played three seasons in the league with Kansas City, Denver and Indiana, averaging 3.3 points, 1.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 135 career games.
Kuester and his wife, Tricia, reside in Marina del Rey and have two children; a son, John, and daughter, Katie. John is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA while Katie is currently a senior at St. Joe’s and a member of the women’s basketball team.