Avery Johnson is entering his third season as head coach of the Nets, having been named to the position on June 15, 2010.
Johnson came to the Nets with a 194-70 (.735) career coaching record, having led the Dallas Mavericks to the postseason in each of his three-plus seasons as head coach. As a head coach, he holds the highest winning percentage in NBA history and set the record for reaching the 150 win plateau the fastest (191 games). In 2005-06, Johnson led the Mavericks to their first ever appearance in the NBA Finals en route to earning NBA ‘Coach of the Year’ honors.
Johnson was appointed head coach of the Mavericks on March 19, 2005, following the resignation of Don Nelson. An immediate success, Johnson finished the season with a 16-2 mark, earning Western Conference ‘Coach of the Month’ honors for April. In his first full season as head coach, Johnson led the 2005-06 Mavericks to a 60-22 record and the team’s first ever Western Conference Championship. He was named Western Conference ‘Coach of the Month’ in November of 2005, becoming the first coach in league history to win the award in his first two full months of coaching. Johnson picked up the award for a third time in January, 2006. As the coach with the best record in the conference, Johnson earned the honor of coaching the 2006 Western Conference All-Star Team. The following season, he guided the team to an NBA best 67 wins in 2006-07. In his final season in Dallas in 2007-08, Johnson led his club to 50-plus wins for the third straight year, finishing with a record of 51-31. Making the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, Johnson holds a career postseason record of 23-24 (.489).
Johnson began the 2004-05 season as an assistant coach with Dallas after retiring as a player on October 28, 2004. In 16 NBA seasons, he averaged 8.4 points, 5.5 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 25.3 minutes played in 1,054 career games with seven different teams. Known as “The Little General” for his on-court leadership and diminutive stature, Johnson helped guide the San Antonio Spurs to an NBA Championship in 1999.
On March, 28 2003, as a member of the Mavericks, Johnson became the 75th player in league history to play 1,000 career games. At 5-11, he joined Calvin Murphy as the only other player under 6-feet in height to reach that milestone.
The New Orleans native played his final two collegiate seasons at Southern University, leading the NCAA in assists in each of his two years at Southern, and was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the MVP of the conference tournament as both a junior and senior. He still owns several NCAA Division I records, including most assists in a single game, the highest single season assist average and the highest career assist average.
Despite his numerous amateur accolades, Johnson was not selected in the 1988 NBA Draft. He started his professional career playing with the Palm Beach Stingrays of the United States Basketball League before signing as a free agent with the Seattle Supersonics on August 2, 1988.
Johnson changed teams six times during his first six seasons in the NBA. It wasn’t until his fourth different stint with San Antonio in 1994-95 that he was able to finally settle down. Johnson stayed with the Spurs through the end of the 2000-01 season before signing as a free-agent with Denver on August 19, 2001.
Johnson married his wife Cassandra in July of 1991 in New Orleans. They have two children, a daughter, Christianne and son, Avery Jr. He has a strong passion for men’s ministry, and financially and spiritually supports many church programs in New Orleans, Houston and Dallas. Johnson’s motivational speeches are in high demand at churches and schools across the nation. In October, 2005, he was co-host of the Katrina Rescue Ride to benefit the Salvation Army and the Red Cross’ relief efforts of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Johnson serves as a member of the board of directors of Project Turn Around, a faith based organization dedicated to address the social needs of urban youth and their families in the Dallas area. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of Hunger Busters, an organization dedicated to bringing freshly made meals with compassion to hungry and homeless people on the streets of Dallas. Following his time in Dallas, Johnson spent two seasons as an NBA analyst for ESPN.