|The winningest coach in NBA history, Don Nelson spent 11 seasons over two separate stints with the Golden State Warriors.
In his 31st and final season as an NBA head coach, Nelson surpassed Lenny Wilkins for the most coaching victories in NBA history. In fact, over 46 years in the NBA as a player, coach,
general manager or consultant, no one has participated in more games as a player and head coach than the 3,451 that “Nellie”
has notched in his career.
One of only two coaches in league history to earn NBA Coach of the Year honors on three different occasions
(1983, 1985 with Milwaukee, 1992 with Golden State), Nelson has enjoyed coaching stints in four NBA cities, having served in
Milwaukee (1976-1987), Golden State (1988-1995, 2006-10), New York (1995-96) and Dallas (1997-2005).
Nelson’s head coaching career began in 1976 when he was promoted
to head coach/director of player personnel for the Milwaukee Bucks. Over the next
11 seasons in Milwaukee, Nelson would amass a 540-344 record while guiding
the team to seven-straight Midwest Division titles between 1979-1986.
Among his many honors, Nelson was named one of the top-10 coaches in NBA
history by a panel of former coaches and players during the league's 50th
anniversary season in 1997. He also coached DreamTeam II to a gold medal at the
In 14 seasons as an NBA player, Nelson averaged 10.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 1,053 contests. After two
seasons with the Lakers, he was waived and signed as a free agent by the Boston Celtics in October, 1965. In 11 seasons with the Celtics,
he was a member of five NBA Championship teams (1966, 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1976). His retired uniform #19 was raised to the Boston Garden rafters in 1978.
Born on May 15, 1940, in Muskegon, Michigan, Don Arvid Nelson was a two-time All-American at Iowa, where he graduated in
1962. Don married Joy Wolfgram on June 19, 1991, in a ceremony that was held on the Warriors’ court inside the Oakland
Coliseum. Nelson has five grown children, Julie, Donn, Christie, Katie and Lee.