NEW YORK, April 28 -- San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich was named the winner of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2002-03 season, the NBA announced today.

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Popovich, who is the first Spurs coach in franchise history to earn the Auerbach Trophy, received 281 points, including 40 first-place votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

Gregg Popovich is the first Spurs coach to receive the Red Auerbach Trophy.
Matthew Stockman
NBAE/Getty Images
Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received. First-year head coach Eric Musselman of the Golden State Warriors finished second with 231 points (26 first-place votes) and Utah’s Jerry Sloan finished third with 143 points (18 first-place votes).

Named the Spurs head coach on Dec. 10, 1996, Popovich has collected a regular season-record of 339-185 (.646) in six seasons at the helm and is the Spurs’ all-time leader in coaching victories.

This season, the Spurs posted a 60-22 overall mark – tying for the best overall record in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks – and won their fourth Midwest Division title under Popovich’s tutelage. The Spurs also notched a league-best 18-2 record over their last 20 road games and secured the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The 2002-03 season marks the second time in franchise history that the Spurs finished with 60 or more wins (1994-95, 62-20).

Popovich joined the Spurs in July 1988 as an assistant coach on Larry Brown’s staff. He spent the next four seasons in San Antonio for a Spurs franchise that won a pair of Midwest Division titles. In the summer of 1992, Popovich was named an assistant coach on Don Nelson’s staff with the Golden State Warriors. He spent the next two seasons with the Warriors before re-joining the Spurs on May 31, 1994, as the club’s general manager. He assumed head coaching responsibilities in December 1996. Popovich led San Antonio to its first NBA title, a five-game triumph over the New York Knicks, in the 1999 NBA Finals.

The Coach of the Year Award is named after legendary coach and Hall of Famer Red Auerbach who guided the Celtics to nine NBA Championships. In 1996 Auerbach was honored as one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History as the NBA celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Following are the balloting results for the 2002-03 NBA Coach of the Year award and the all-time list of winners:


Coach, Team1st2nd3rdPts
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio402118281
Eric Musselman, Golden State262720231
Jerry Sloan, Utah181411143
Rick Carlisle, Detroit82114117
Rich Adelman, Sacramento8161371
Flip Saunders, Minnnesota561457
Hubie Brown, Memphis56447
Don Nelson, Dallas33832
Larry Brown, Philadelphia34330
Maurice Cheeks, Portland211023
Frank Johnson, Phoenix15222
Paul Silas, New Orleans13317
Byron Scott, New Jersey1108
Phil Jackson, Los Angeles0114
Isiah Thomas, Indiana0103
Rudy Tomjanovich, Houston0103


1962-63 Harry Gallatin, St. Louis*
1963-64 Alex Hannum, San Francisco
1964-65 Red Auerbach, Boston
1965-66 Dolph Schayes, Philadelphia
1966-67 Johnny Kerr, Chicago*
1967-68 Richie Guerin, St. Louis
1968-69 Gene Shue, Baltimore
1969-70 Red Holzman, New York
1970-71 Dick Motta, Chicago
1971-72 Bill Sharman, Los Angeles
1972-73 Tom Heinsohn, Boston
1973-74 Ray Scott, Detroit
1974-75 Phil Johnson, KC-Omaha
1975-76 Bill Fitch, Cleveland
1976-77 Tom Nissalke, Houston
1977-78 Hubie Brown, Atlanta
1978-79 Cotton Fitzsimmons, Kansas City
1979-80 Bill Fitch, Boston
1980-81 Jack McKinney, Indiana
1981-82 Gene Shue, Washington
1982-83 Don Nelson, Milwaukee
1983-84 Frank Layden, Utah
1984-85 Don Nelson, Milwaukee
1985-86 Mike Fratello, Atlanta
1986-87 Mike Schuler, Portland*
1987-88 Doug Moe, Denver
1988-89 Cotton Fitzsimmons, Phoenix
1989-90 Pat Riley, L.A. Lakers
1990-91 Don Chaney, Houston
1991-92 Don Nelson, Golden State
1992-93 Pat Riley, New York
1993-94 Lenny Wilkens, Atlanta
1994-95 Del Harris, L.A. Lakers
1995-96 Phil Jackson, Chicago
1996-97 Pat Riley, Miami
1997-98 Larry Bird, Indiana*
1998-99 Mike Dunleavy, Portland
1999-00 Glenn “Doc” Rivers, Orlando*
2000-01 Larry Brown, Philadelphia
2001-02 Rick Carlisle, Detroit*
2002-03 Gregg Popovich, San Antonio

* -- First-Year Head Coach