Gregg Popovich, Head Coach / President of Spurs Basketball
Now in his 21st season as the Spurs Head Coach, the longest tenure with the same team among the 122 NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB franchises, Coach Popovich has led the Spurs to five NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014). He is one of only five coaches in history with five-or-more NBA championships (along with Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, John Kundla and Pat Riley).
Coach Popovich finished the 2015-16 season with a career mark of 1,089-485 and a career winning percentage of .692 ranking him Third in NBA history behind Phil Jackson and Billy Cunningham. He ranks Eighth in NBA history for career victories and First among active coaches. His 1,089 wins with one team ranks him Second All-Time in NBA history behind Jerry Sloan (1,127). Other accolades include ranking Third in NBA history for playoff wins (158) and Fourth in NBA history for playoff career
winning percentage (.617; 158-98).
He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2003, 2012 and 2014 while leading the San Antonio Spurs to the NBA’s best regular season record five times (1998-99, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2011-12 and 2013-14). He was selected as the Western Conference All-Star Coach in 2005, 2011, 2013 and 2016 and held the NBA Coach of the Month Award a record 16 times.
Coach Popovich was a 1970 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in Soviet Studies. He played four seasons at the Air Force Academy and as a senior was the team’s captain and leading scorer. Following his graduation in 1970, he served his five-year military commitment which allowed him to tour Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Team. He was selected to represent the U.S. on the National AAU Team and in 1972 was selected the Captain of the Armed Forces Team, which ultimately won the AAU Championship. He returned to the Air Force Academy in 1973 as an Assistant Coach and proceeded to spend six years at the Air Force during which time he obtained his master’s degree in Physical Education and Sports Sciences from the University of Denver. In 1979 was named the head coach at Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont, California where he spent the next eight seasons. During the 1985–86 season, he led the team to its first Conference Championship in 68 years while securing a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. At Pomona, Coach 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, he moved to the NBA and joined 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 assistant coach on Don Nelson’s staff with Golden State Warriors where he spent the next two seasons. On May 31, 1994, Coach Popovich returned to San Antonio as the Spurs Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager (served as GM for eight seasons before turning job over to R.C. Buford on July 1, 2002) and eventually was named Head Coach in 1996.
He also served as Assistant Coach for the USA Basketball 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). In October 2015, was selected as Head Coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team for the 2017-20 quadrennial.
Coach Popovich is a very active member of the San Antonio community. In 1991, he teamed up with Frank Martin to create the Spurs Youth Basketball League which has grown to 75 locations in San Antonio and through-out South Texas with over 15,000 boys and girls, ages 7 to 16, playing in the league in 2011-12. Prior to every game, each participant takes a pledge, promising to remain drug and alcohol free while showing good sportsmanship and fair play. The league was honored with a Daily Point of Light Award by President Bush in February of 1992. He is also 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. He was honored by the Air Force Academy with its Distinguished Graduate Award in 2007.
He and his wife Erin have been blessed with two children, Micky and Jill.
Back to About