August 30, 2006
"We are really excited to welcome Don back to the Warriors' family,” said Mullin. "He has proven to be one of the best and most successful coaches in NBA history and is very-well respected throughout the league for his unique creativity, strategical exploits and leadership. We often talk about having the right fit for a team and I think this man is someone who can certainly help our young and talented roster achieve its maximum performance.”
"It's a pleasure to welcome Don back to our organization,” said Warriors' owner Chris Cohan. "He was a big part of this organization's success during the late 80's and early ‘90s and we're excited about his return. We are looking forward to working together again and I'm confident that he can help us achieve the results that our fans deserve.”
"I'm really excited about this new opportunity and want to thank Mr. Cohan for opening the doors again,” said Nelson. "I have always had a special place in my heart for this organization and the incredible fans of the Bay Area who have filed into this arena year after year. I'm equally excited about the team that I'm inheriting, one that I think is extremely talented and has a lot of room for growth.”
This marks Nelson's second tour of duty with Golden State. The Muskegon, Michigan native spent six-plus years as the team's head coach and general manager from 1988-89 through 45 games of the 1994-95 campaign, amassing an overall record of 277-260 in 537 games (.516). The Warriors qualified for the playoffs in four of his six complete seasons with the team (1989, 1991, 1992, 1994), highlighted by a pair of 50-win seasons in 1991-92 (55-27) and 1993-94 (50-32). In addition to earning NBA Coach of the Year honors with the Warriors in 1991-92, Nelson also served as head coach of the Western Conference All-Star team in 1992. During his previous tenure with the club, the Warriors ranked among the top four scoring teams in the NBA in each of his six complete seasons, including the 1989-90 (116.3) and 1991-92 (118.7) campaigns, when Golden State led the NBA in points per game. He originally joined the Warriors as Executive Vice President on July 1, 1987 and was named general manager on December 30, 1987 (became head coach the following season). He resigned his position with the club on February 13, 1995.
One of only two coaches in league history (joining Pat Riley) to earn NBA Coach of the Year honors on three different occasions (1983 and 1985 with Milwaukee, 1992 with Golden State), Nelson has enjoyed coaching stints in four NBA cities, including Milwaukee (1976-1987), Golden State (1988-1995), New York (1995-96) and Dallas (1997-2005). He is one of only two coaches in league annals (joining Wilkens) to register 250-plus victories with three different teams, having accomplished this feat in Milwaukee (540), Golden State (277) and Dallas (339). Nelson's teams have registered 50 or more wins in 13 of his 27 seasons as a head coach, placing him second on the all-times list of 50-win campaigns (tied with Phil Jackson), trailing only Pat Riley (17).
Prior to joining the Warriors, Nelson spent his most recent successful tenure with the Dallas Mavericks. He spent six full seasons - and parts of two others - as the head coach of the Mavericks, punctuated by four consecutive 50-win campaigns from 2000-01 to 2003-04 (53, 57, 60, 52). He resigned as head coach of the Mavericks 64 games into the 2004-05 season (42-22) on March 19, 2005 and has served as a Consultant with Dallas since that point. Overall, he guided the Mavericks to a 339-251 mark in 590 regular season games (.575) and four post-season appearances.
Nelson, who has led his teams to 17 playoff appearances, ranks 10th on the NBA's all-time playoff winning list (70). He was named one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history during the league's 50th anniversary season in 1997 (selected by a panel of former coaches, players and media).