Lakers Hire Tomjanovich as Head Coach
Tomjanovich, who becomes the 16th head coach in Los Angeles Lakers history, has spent the last 34 seasons with the Houston Rockets serving as player, coach and most recently as a personnel consultant during the 2003-04 season. Prior to his role as consultant, Tomjanovich spent 12 seasons as the team's head coach where he guided them to two division titles and two NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995.
"We're ecstatic to have Rudy Tomjanovich as our new head coach," said Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. "He is a proven winner who has led his teams to two NBA championships and I am confident he will carry that success over to the Lakers. He is well-liked and well-respected by everyone in the business and we look forward to having him lead us into the future."
"I'm thrilled to be joining such a storied franchise as the Los Angeles Lakers," said Tomjanovich. "Dr. Jerry Buss has a reputation as being one of the greatest owners in all of professional sports and I look forward to working with him, Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the Lakers organization. In addition, Sophie and I are looking forward to enjoying the Southern California lifestyle and being part of the Los Angeles community."
In 12 seasons as head coach of the Rockets, Tomjanovich posted a 503-397 (.559) regular season record and a 51-39 (.567) playoff record. His career wins and winning percentage are Rockets franchise records.
In his first complete season (1992-93) as the Rockets head coach Tomjanovich guided his team to a division title, making him the first head coach to ever take his team from the lottery to a division title during his first full season. In the ensuing year Tomjanovich led the team to its first NBA championship. He repeated this feat again the following season, earning back-to-back championships for the first time in the club's history.
Alongside his role as coach of the Rockets, Tomjanovich also served as coach for the United States Senior National Team on two occasions. During the 2000 Summer Olympics, Tomjanovich guided the team to a gold medal while posting an undefeated record in Sydney. Prior to the Olympics, Tomjanovich also coached a group of non-NBA players to a bronze medal in the 1988 World Championship of Basketball.
While serving as the Rockets head coach Tomjanovich received numerous accolades including being named head coach of the Western Conference team for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game. He also earned The Sporting News NBA Coach of the Year Award in 1993 and was named NBA Coach of the Month on several occasions.