Stan Van Gundy

Five things to know about Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

1)      Van Gundy becomes the seventh head coach in New Orleans franchise history, just the third different sideline boss for the Pelicans/Hornets since the start of the 2010-11 season. Each of the team’s last three non-interim head coaches spent five or more seasons in the Crescent City, dating back to Byron Scott (2004-09).

2)      Originally from California and born in the city of Indio (population 91,000), Stan Van Gundy and fellow decorated NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy learned about coaching at an early age from their father, Bill. Stan played college basketball in the Rochester, NY, area at SUNY Brockport, where Bill was the head coach. Younger brother Jeff’s college hoops playing career took place at nearby Nazareth College, as has been discussed at various points during Jeff’s television analysis. Following in the footsteps of his father, Stan ended up coaching at Northeast colleges including Vermont, Castleton, Canisius, Fordham and UMass-Lowell, then in the Upper Midwest at Wisconsin.

3)      Stan is one of the NBA’s winningest coaches over the past two decades, having compiled a career regular season record of 523-384, for a percentage of .577. He has also coached 91 playoff games, posting a record of 48-43. Thirteen of those postseason victories took place during Orlando’s 2009 run to the NBA Finals, where it was defeated by Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. En route to capturing the ’09 Eastern Conference crown, the Magic eliminated Philadelphia, Boston and Cleveland. Pelicans guard JJ Redick was a reserve guard for Orlando in the regular season (6.0 ppg) and started eight playoff games that spring, shooting 40 percent from the arc in the postseason. Coincidentally, the Philadelphia team that was knocked out by Van Gundy’s Magic in Round 1 drafted guard Jrue Holiday in June ’09 with the 17th pick.

4)      The ’09 Finals trip makes Stan one of 10 currently-hired NBA head coaches to have led a club to that prestigious round of the postseason. The others are Rick Carlisle (won championship with Dallas), Steve Kerr (Golden State), Tyronn Lue (Cleveland), Frank Vogel (Lakers), Erik Spoelstra (Miami), Doc Rivers (Boston), Gregg Popovich (San Antonio), Nick Nurse (Toronto) and Scott Brooks (reached Finals with Oklahoma City).

5)      Van Gundy – who was a TNT analyst this past season – has head coached a full 82-game season 10 times in his NBA career, winning 50-plus games in five of those campaigns. Four of those instances came with Orlando from 2007-11, along with once for Miami. In the 18-year history of the New Orleans franchise, the Pelicans only have one season of 50-plus victories, going 56-26 during the ’07-08 season. Meanwhile, Van Gundy has three seasons under his belt of going exactly 59-23. He’s won four Southeast Division titles; New Orleans has one division crown.

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