Suns News

Mike D’Antoni Wins 2004-05 NBA Coach of the Year Award

Suns President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo poses with D'Antoni and his NBA Coach of the Year award.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)
Posted: May 10, 2005

Phoenix Suns Coach Mike D’Antoni has been named the winner of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2004-05 season, the NBA announced today.

D’Antoni, who is in his first full season as the Suns’ head coach, received 326 points, including 41 first-place votes, from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received. Indiana’s Rick Carlisle was second with 241 points (26 first-place votes) and Seattle’s Nate McMillan was a close third with 234 points (30 first-place votes).

D’Antoni engineered the third largest turnaround in NBA history this season, guiding the Suns to a club record-tying 62 wins, a remarkable 33-game improvement over last season’s disappointing 29-53 record. After finishing 11-30 on the road in 2003-04, they finished a league-best and franchise-best 31-10 (.756) on the road this season, the seventh-best road winning percentage in league history. Phoenix is only the second NBA team (1979-80 Boston Celtics) to win 60 games after a 50-loss season.

D’Antoni, only the second Phoenix Suns coach to be honored as NBA Coach of the Year (Cotton Fitzsimmons, 1988-89), led the Suns’ explosive offense to a league-best 110.4 points per game, as they became the first team since the 1994-95 Orlando Magic to average over 110 points. The team’s 16.2-point increase from last season (94.2) ranked as the largest increase in team scoring since the advent of the shot clock. Phoenix topped 100 points in 68 of 82 games this season and broke the NBA single-season record for three-pointers made with 796 (previously 735 by Dallas in 1995-96).

D’Antoni brought 30 years of professional basketball experience to the Phoenix coaching staff in June 2002 and began his reign as head coach in December 2003. This is the second NBA head coaching stint for D’Antoni, who served as head coach of the Denver Nuggets in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season (14-36) and was the club’s director of player personnel in 1997-98. He was also an assistant for Portland in 2000-01 and a scout for San Antonio during the 1999-2000 campaign. During D’Antoni’s Italian League tenure from 1990-97, he led his teams to the playoffs each season and was twice named the league’s Coach of the Year.

The Coach of the Year Award is named after legendary coach and Hall of Famer Red Auerbach who guided the Celtics to nine NBA Championships. In 1996, Auerbach was honored as one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History as the NBA celebrated its 50th anniversary.

ALL-TIME NBA COACH OF THE YEAR WINNERS
1962-63 - Harry Gallatin, St. Louis*
1963-64 - Alex Hannum, San Francisco
1964-65 - Red Auerbach, Boston
1965-66 - Dolph Schayes, Philadelphia
1966-67 - Johnny Kerr, Chicago*
1967-68 - Richie Guerin, St. Louis
1968-69 - Gene Shue, Baltimore
1969-70 - Red Holzman, New York
1970-71 - Dick Motta, Chicago
1971-72 - Bill Sharman, Los Angeles
1972-73 - Tom Heinsohn, Boston
1973-74 - Ray Scott, Detroit
1974-75 - Phil Johnson, Kansas City-Omaha
1975-76 - Bill Fitch, Cleveland
1976-77 - Tom Nissalke, Houston
1977-78 - Hubie Brown, Atlanta
1978-79 - Cotton Fitzsimmons, Kansas City
1979-80 - Bill Fitch, Boston
1980-81 - Jack McKinney, Indiana
1981-82 - Gene Shue, Washington
1982-83 - Don Nelson, Milwaukee
1983-84 - Frank Layden, Utah
1984-85 - Don Nelson, Milwaukee
1985-86 - Mike Fratello, Atlanta
1986-87 - Mike Schuler, Portland*
1987-88 - Doug Moe, Denver
1988-89 - Cotton Fitzsimmons, Phoenix
1989-90 - Pat Riley, LA Lakers
1990-91 - Don Chaney, Houston
1991-92 - Don Nelson, Golden State
1992-93 - Pat Riley, New York
1993-94 - Lenny Wilkens, Atlanta
1994-95 - Del Harris, Los Angeles Lakers
1995-96 - Phil Jackson, Chicago
1996-97 - Pat Riley, Miami
1997-98 - Larry Bird, Indiana*
1998-99 - Mike Dunleavy, Portland
1999-2000 - Doc Rivers, Orlando*
2000-01 - Larry Brown, Philadelphia
2001-02 - Rick Carlisle, Detroit*
2002-03 - Gregg Popovich, San Antonio
2003-04 - Hubie Brown, Memphis
2004-05 - Mike D’Antoni, Phoenix

*First-year head coach