Coach Joerger’s Rise Through the Ranks

Learn more about the Kings head coach and his journey from the International Basketball Association to the NBA.
by Shahbaz Khan
Managing Editor, Digital

A proven and respected coach in the League, head coach Dave Joerger’s rise began in the now defunct International Basketball Association. Joerger took over as head coach of the Dakota Wizards in the 2000-01 IBA season, leading the team to a 30-10 regular season record and winning a championship after coming back from an 0-2 deficit in the best-of-five finals.

The Minnesota native continued his tenure with the Wizards as they entered the CBA and in turn, won two CBA championships in addition to two Coach of the Year honors during a three year stint with the team. Joerger took an opportunity to coach the Sioux Falls Skyforce in 2004-05, where he would win his third and final CBA championship. Within the league, coach Joerger totaled three rings in five seasons before moving to the NBA D-League in 2006.

In his lone season in the NBA Development League, Joerger yet again found success, netting another title – his fifth minor league title and third different league championship. Additionally, under Joerger’s coaching in the minor leagues, 18 of his players were called up to the NBA level. The accomplishments were noted by the Memphis Grizzlies, who hired Joerger as an assistant coach in 2007-08, a position he would continue to serve in until 2011, being promoted to lead assistant under Lionel Hollins.

From a defensive efficiency ranking of 24th in 2010, Joerger aided the Grizzlies in rising to ninth in 2011, seventh in 2012 and second in 2013. In the offseason of 2013, Joerger was hired as the team’s head coach, leading the team to back-to-back 50 win seasons in addition to three consecutive playoff berths. During his tenure as head coach with Memphis, the team continually ranked among the NBA’s best in points in the paint in addition to allowing among the fewest points per game in the Association.

Most recently, despite an injury-plagued season for the Grizzlies in which the team suited 28 different players (an NBA record), the team found itself in the playoffs as a seven seed with a 42-40 overall record.

A noted “X’s-and-O’s wiz,” Joerger can “rattle off the play calls of every team with zero notice,” according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. In addition, the new Kings coach received praise for his game plan from Memphis’ first round opponent’s legendary coach, Gregg Popovich.

The 42-year-old coach now takes over in Sacramento following Monday’s announcement.

"He is a strong and passionate leader with a proven track record of producing results,” said Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac in the team’s press release. "Dave shares our focus on creating a long-term culture of winning and I look forward to a bright future ahead for the Kings with his leadership on the court."


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