GREGG POPOVICH, HEAD COACH/PRESIDENT OF SPURS BASKETBALL
Gregg Popovich is in his 24th season as the Spurs head coach. He currently stands as the longest tenured active coach in all four U.S. major sports leagues. Popovich has led the Silver and Black to five NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014) and is just one of five coaches in history with five-or-more NBA Championships (along with Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, John Kundla and Pat Riley). On April 13, 2019, Popovich became the NBA’s all-time leader in combined wins (regular season and playoffs) with his 1,413th career win. He ranks first all-time among NBA coaches for the most consecutive winning regular seasons with 23.
Popovich finished the 2018-19 season with an all-time regular season record of 1,245-575. His career winning percentage of .684 ranks third in NBA history (behind Jackson (.704) and Billy Cunningham (.698), min. 500 games). Popovich ranks third in NBA history in career regular season victories and is first among active coaches. On Feb. 4, 2017, he collected his 1,128th win as Spurs head coach to surpass Jerry Sloan for most wins with a single franchise in NBA history.
His 170 playoff wins rank third in NBA history (behind Jackson and Riley) and his playoff career winning percentage of .599 (170-114) is third-best in league history (min. 100 games).
Popovich was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2003, 2012 and 2014. He’s led San Antonio to the NBA’s best regular season record five times (1998-99, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2011-12 and 2013-14). He’s also been named Western Conference All-Star coach four times and NBA Coach of the Month 17 times, the most in league history.
Born in East Chicago, Ind., Popovich graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in Soviet studies in 1970. While there he played basketball for four seasons. As a senior he was named the team’s captain and was their leading scorer averaging 14.3 points. In 2007, he was honored by the Air Force Academy with its Distinguished Graduate Award.
Following his graduation in 1970 Popovich served his five-year military commitment in the U.S. Air Force. During that time he toured Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Team. In 1972, he was selected captain of the Armed Forces Team, which won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship. He was among 66 players invited by the U.S. Olympic Basketball Games Committee to try out for the 1972 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team.
Popovich returned in 1973 to the Air Force Academy and was head coach of the USAFA Prep School for three seasons (1973-76). He spent three seasons (1976-79) as an assistant at the U.S. Air Force Academy and he obtained a master’s degree in physical education and sports sciences from the University of Denver.
In 1979 Popovich was named the head coach at Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont, Calif. where he would spend the next eight seasons. During the 1985–86 season he led the team to its first conference championship in 68 years and to a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. While at Pomona Popovich was an active member of the school’s academic community, working as an associate professor, chairing the college’s Student Life committee, serving on the Women’s Commission and even – for one year – living in a dorm with his family.
In July of 1988 Popovich made the move to the NBA joining the Spurs as an assistant coach on Larry Brown’s staff. He spent the next four seasons in San Antonio with a Spurs team that won a pair of Midwest Division titles. In the summer of 1992 he was named an assistant coach on Don Nelson’s staff with Golden State.
After two seasons with Golden State, Popovich returned to the Spurs after being named general manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations on May 31, 1994. Midway through the 1996-97 season he took over as head coach.
Popovich was named head coach of the USA Basketball Senior Men’s National Team on Oct. 23, 2015 for the 2017-20 quadrennium. He served as an assistant coach for USA Basketball’s Men’s Senior Team for three consecutive summers (at the 2002 World Basketball Championship, the 2003 FIBA America Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the 2004 Olympic Games).
Popovich is a very active member of the San Antonio community. In 1991 he teamed with Frank Martin to create the Spurs Youth Basketball League. Today the league plays at 75 locations in San Antonio and throughout South Texas. The league was honored with a Daily Point of Light Award by President George H.W. Bush in February of 1992. He is involved in several charities in the San Antonio area including the San Antonio Food Bank, Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives, Boys and Girls Club and The Miracle League.