John Lucas, a 46-year-old North Carolina native, enters his second season on the Nuggets coaching staff.
Lucas has four years of head coaching experience in the NBA, guiding the Philadelphia 76ers from 1994-96 and the San Antonio Spurs from 1992-94. Along with his head coaching duties in Philadelphia, he also served as general manager and vice president of basketball operations. Lucas guided the Spurs to a remarkable 94-49 (.657) regular-season record and two playoff appearances (6-8 in those games). He became the eighth-fastest coach in NBA history to reach 100 wins on Dec. 3, 1994. His overall NBA head coaching record is 136-171 (.443). Lucas also served as head coach of the Miami Tropics of the USBL, a team he owned from 1992-93, pacing them to 38-9 record and two USBL championships.
That type of success, both on and off the athletic field, is nothing new to Lucas. He made his first mark as a prep athlete in his hometown of Durham, N.C., starring on both tennis and basketball courts. In tennis, he won three consecutive state singles titles and was a member of the Junior Davis Cup team. As a basketball player, he was a four-year letterman and broke Pete Maravich's North Carolina state scoring record.
He then moved on to the University of Maryland, where he earned All-America honors in both 1975 and 1976 and finished his career as UM's all-time leader in points (2,015) and assists (514). His basketball efforts were again matched by his work on the tennis court, as he garnered All-America status in both his junior and senior years.
In 1976, the Houston Rockets made Lucas the top pick in the NBA Draft and he did not disappoint, averaging 11.1 ppg and 5.6 apg, while earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Team. He then spent the next 13 seasons with six NBA teams, including three separate stints with Houston. He finished among the league's top 10 in assists seven times in his career. Lucas retired in 1990 with career averages of 10.7 ppg and 7.0 apg in 928 career games and he still ranks 10th in NBA history in career assists (6,454).
Following his retirement, Lucas entered the business world, founding the Houston-based John Lucas Enterprises. The company runs a number of drug-treatment programs and other endeavors that help athletes, and others, maintain their sobriety and work to improve their quality of life.
Lucas holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Maryland and a master's in secondary education from the University of San Francisco. He also was bestowed with numerous honors for his work, including the USBL's Man of the Year Award in 1992. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
Lucas and his wife Debbie, have three children: daughter Tarvia and sons John Jr. and Jai.