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CLEVELAND, June 2 – Cleveland Cavaliers’ majority owner Dan Gilbert announced today that Mike Brown has been named as the team’s new head coach. Brown becomes the 17th head coach in Cleveland Cavaliers’ history. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
“I'm extremely happy that our number one candidate has accepted our offer to come to Cleveland. Mike is the only person we offered the job to and we are very confident he is the right person to lead the Cavaliers to a very successful future on the court,” Gilbert said. “He has had a dynamic NBA experience thus far and has accomplished a great deal in each of his roles along the way. He has met challenging situations head-on with successful solutions and knows what it takes to win championships.”
Brown, 35, has served in various roles in the NBA for the past 13 seasons. Most recently, he served as the associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers under Head Coach Rick Carlisle for the past two seasons. “There is no one more ready to become a first-time head coach in the NBA than Mike Brown. When Mike came to Indiana two years ago, he embraced the responsibility of becoming associate head coach and defensive coordinator for the Pacers,” Carlisle said. “Mike is a great communicator, has great knowledge of our game and will be meticulously prepared for every situation that faces the Cleveland Cavaliers over the next several years. His experience working with MVP-caliber players like Jermaine O’Neal and Tim Duncan has prepared him well to help LeBron James continue to develop into one of the all-time greats. This is a slam-dunk hire for the Cleveland Cavaliers.”
"I think Mike is the premier young coach in the NBA today and I have no doubt he'll be successful as the head coach in Cleveland,” O’Neal said. “He was a key part of the heart and soul of our (Pacers) team. Mike was the defensive specialist for us and that's something we really hang our hat on as a team. He was a big part of our offensive development this season too. He's a great person, a great communicator, and a great coach. I think he's going to be perfect for LeBron and the Cavaliers."
During his time with the Pacers, Brown helped lead Indiana to consecutive playoff appearances including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004. Indiana Pacers CEO and President Donnie Walsh also endorsed Brown’s hiring. Walsh said, “Mike is one of the finest coaches that we’ve had in our organization in the last 19 years. As a basketball coach, he has the whole package in terms of technical skill, strategy and communication. In addition, he is a first-rate person with a fabulous family. There is no question in my mind he will be a successful head coach.”
Brown spent the previous three seasons (2000-2003) as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. In San Antonio, Brown’s teams won at least 58 games each season and captured the NBA Championship in 2003. "Mike Brown is a great choice for the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Popovich said. “He possesses both intelligence and energy, along with a great breadth of knowledge. His ability to communicate with players is a major strength and he will make their organization proud.”
He also spent three years in Washington as a Wizards’ assistant coach and scout. In his first two years in Washington, Brown served as an assistant coach and then spent his final year with the Wizards as the team’s professional scout. He began his career in 1992 with the Denver Nuggets where he spent five seasons as the team’s scout and video coordinator. As an assistant coach in the NBA, Brown’s teams have compiled an overall record of 341-201 (.629).
“As we worked through the hiring process for all of our key basketball positions, one thing became obvious - Mike Brown was going to be the head coach regardless of who filled the other key positions,” Gilbert said. “He has made a remarkable impression on many, many people around the league and we feel fortunate to have Mike become the Cavaliers head coach."
Brown is a 1992 graduate of the University of San Diego with a degree in business. He played basketball for two years at San Diego after spending two years at Mesa Community College.
Mike and his wife, Carolyn, have two sons, Elijah and Cameron.