College - DePaul
To get a sense of Mark Aguirre’s style as a coach, just remember Mark Aguirre’s style as a player.
“Very hard, tough basketball is what I like,” says the three-time NBA All-Star. “I like everything to be a totally exhausting type of basketball. I want guys to play extremely hard every second of the game. That’s how I like to see basketball played. And then, you learn how to play after that. I have no problem with making guys play hard.”
Following a stellar playing career as a two-time World Champion and one of the game’s most prolific scorers of the 1980s, Aguirre continues to build on an impressive coaching resume.
Mark is currently in his fourth season with the Knickerbockers (third full campaign) and his fifth season overall as an NBA assistant coach. He joined the Knicks’ staff on Jan. 16, 2004, and his hard-nosed attitude has made him a natural for the demands of basketball on the world’s biggest stage.
“You don’t know how bad I want to win in New York,” says Aguirre, 46. “I don’t think I’ve ever been around a city this well educated on what basketball really is. Detroit is great, but when I came to New York, these (fans) know your plays, they know what you’re trying to do, they know who’s effective and how they’re effective. It’s phenomenal that they know it, they really know it. I love it. I want to win here so bad it just eats at me.”
Aguirre, who served as head coach for the Knicks’ squad at the 2005 and 2006 Summer League in Las Vegas, came to New York after two seasons with the Indiana Pacers. In 2001-02, he served as a Pacers special assistant. The following year, he was promoted to assistant coach. Aguirre’s post-playing NBA career began in 1996-97 as director of player development for the Dallas Mavericks.
Aguirre’s basketball career has been influenced by some of the game’s greatest coaches.
“Offensively, I would say for my personal play, Ray Meyer probably had the biggest impact on me,” says Mark. “I think I had my offensive game in college already and I just brought it into the pros, so he had the biggest impact.
“So far as understanding what it takes in order to win and being in the scheme of winning offensively and defensively, I think Chuck Daly might have had the biggest impact on me. Understanding not just basketball, but what type of philosophy he’s trying to get through and how we’re trying to win, I think he had the biggest influence.”
Aguirre averaged 20.0 points over a standout 13-year playing career with the Dallas Mavericks (1981-82 through 1988-89), Detroit Pistons (1988-89 through 1992-93) and Los Angeles Clippers (1993-94). An NBA All-Star with the Mavericks in 1984, 1987 and 1988, he entered the 2006-07 season in 46th place on the League’s all-time scoring list with 18,458 points.
In 1983-84, Aguirre averaged 29.5 points per game (second in the NBA to Adrian Dantley’s 30.6) on 2,330 total points, both Maverick single-season records that still stand. He owns three of the top four single-season point totals in Dallas history. Aguirre’s 13,930 career points as a Maverick are second only to Rolando Blackman’s 16,643 on the all-time franchise list.
Traded to Detroit on Feb. 15, 1989 for Adrian Dantley and a first-round draft pick, Mark was a key member of the Pistons’ back-to-back World Championship teams of 1989 and 1990. He started all four games (7.5 points) of the Pistons’ four-game sweep of the Lakers in the 1989 Finals. The following year, he put up 9.6 points in Detroit’s five-game Finals win over Portland, including 18 points off the bench in the Pistons’ come-from-behind Game One win.
Aguirre teamed with Isiah Thomas as a player in Detroit and as a coach in Indiana. In 2006-07, the pair will unite again in the Knicks bench.
“When you talk about Mark, there’s no way we would have won two championships in Detroit if Mark Aguirre’s not on that team,” says Thomas, the Knicks’ president, basketball operations and head coach. “He’s had great success playing and scoring the ball in this league, and he understands how to transfer that to the players in terms of leverage, post technique, the thinking and mentality of offensive play underneath the basket. His background comes from a Ray Meyer, a Dick Motta, so his philosophy and his way of thinking the game is very similar to mine. He’s a hard-working coach, and we grew up in the same neighborhood and came from the same places.”
“I’m in a big comfort zone, because I know exactly what we’re trying to do as a unit, and we know what we want to see,” says Aguirre of Thomas. “So when I look at it, I know I’m looking at it through his eyes, and he’s looking at it though my eyes. We’re looking for the same things, and then I can look for some mistakes because I know what he’s looking for. So that’s going to be good for me, I’m pretty much embedded in the same things he is.”
A college standout at DePaul, the Chicago native averaged 24.5 points over three seasons with the Blue Demons. Aguirre was The Sporting News’ 1981 College Player of the Year, the 1980 Naismith Award winner, and a two-time member of The Sporting News’ All-America first team. As a freshman in 1978-79, he averaged 24.0 points and led the Blue Demons to the NCAA Final Four, where they lost to Larry Bird-led Indiana State.
Entering the 1981 NBA Draft following his junior year, Mark was the Draft’s first overall pick (by Dallas). He was also selected to play on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that did not compete in the Moscow Games.
From 1999-2001, Aguirre was chairman and CEO of Life Cast, the largest provider of on-line services to private country clubs.
Born on Dec. 10, 1959 in Chicago, Mark and his wife Angela have four children and make their off-season home in Dallas.