Jan Van Breda Kolff
College - Vanderbilt '74
Jan van Breda Kolff returns to the NBA as an assistant coach on Tim Floyd's staff for the 2003-04 season. The former NBA and ABA player adds 12 seasons of collegiate head coaching experience as well as stints as a player-coach at the international level and an assistant at the collegiate level to the Hornets bench.
Van Breda Kolff spent his 12 years as a college head coach at four different schools, compiling a record of 204-155 (.568) and leading his teams to two NCAA Tournament and five NIT bids. His first head coaching job was at Cornell, where he revitalized the basketball program. After finishing 7-19 in 1991-92, he led the Big Red to a 16-10 record (including 10-4 in Ivy League play) in 1992-93.
Van Breda Kolff's success at Cornell led to his appointment as the head coach at his alma mater of Vanderbilt, where he led his teams to a record of 104-81 (.562) over six seasons. He led Vanderbilt to two 20-win seasons and four postseason appearances, highlighted by an NCAA berth in 1997. The Commodores' three NIT trips under van Breda Kolff came in 1994, 1996 and 1998. In 1994, Vanderbilt advanced to the NIT championship game.
After his six-year run at Vanderbilt, van Breda Kolff became head coach at Pepperdine. He enjoyed the most successful two years of his coaching career with the Waves, as he led the team to a 47-18 (.734) record, back-to-back 20 win seasons and consecutive postseason appearances. In 1999-2000, van Breda Kolff was chosen the WCC Coach of the Year after the Waves went 25-9, tied the school record for victories, won the West Coast Conference regular season championship with a 12-2 mark and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where they defeated Indiana in the first round. In the 2000-01 season, Pepperdine finished 22-9 and reached the second round of the NIT after going 12-2 in WCC play.
Van Breda Kolff's most recent coaching stop was at St. Bonaventure, where he led the Bonnies to a 17-13 record and an NIT appearance in his first season. He finished with an overall record of 30-27 at St. Bonaventure. In addition to his head coaching experience, van Breda Kolff served as an assistant under legendary coach Pete Carril at Princeton from 1987-91. Princeton reached the NCAA Tournament three times during his time as an assistant. Van Breda Kolff's first foray into coaching was as a player-coach in Italy from 1983-85.
Before establishing his name in coaching circles, van Breda Kolff spent nine years as a player in the ABA and NBA. The 6-8 forward was the fifth overall pick in the 1974 ABA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, where he began his playing career (he was also chosen in the second round of the 1974 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers). Over nine seasons between the two leagues, he averaged 6.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 598 games. His best statistical season came during the 1976-77 season with the New York Nets, when he averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 72 games.
During his time as a pro, he played for and was influenced by such esteemed coaches as Larry Brown, Hubie Brown and Kevin Loughery.
Before being drafted by the Nuggets, van Breda Kolff enjoyed an outstanding career as a collegiate player at Vanderbilt. He was named SEC Player of the Year as a senior in 1973-74 after leading the league in assists (5.0 apg) and finishing second in rebounding (9.7 rpg) while averaging 10.9 points per game. He led the Commodores to the second round of the 1974 NCAA Tournament after Vanderbilt finished 23-5 and won the SEC regular season crown. Van Breda Kolff, who played three seasons, still holds the school's single-season and career assists records. He graduated in 1974 with bachelor's degrees in both English and history.
Van Breda Kolff will be the second member of his family to coach in New Orleans. His father, Butch, coached five NBA teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers (who he led to two NBA Finals) and the New Orleans Jazz (who he coached to a 74-115 record over parts of three seasons from 1974-77) as well as spending two seasons as the coach of the University of New Orleans.
Van Breda Kolff and his wife, Betty, have two sons, Jan-Michael and Erik.