Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Former St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap has been named the new head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats.
The story was first reported by The Charlotte Observer and confirmed to SNY.tv by sources at St. John’s.
The Observer said Dunlap, 54, was offered the job Monday night after interviewing with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and team officials.
He is believed to be the first Division I assistant coach ever elevated to an NBA head coaching position.
“The Johnnies basketball family is ecstatic for Coach Dunlap’s opportunity,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said. “Mike’s selection as the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach is a well-deserved honor. To make the unprecedented jump from college assistant to NBA head coach is testament to both Mike’s abilities as a teacher and our basketball program’s marked improvement over the past 27 months.
The other finalists for the job reportedly included former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder. Sloan reportedly removed his name from consideration last week.
Charlotte posted the NBA’s lowest winning percentage (.106) ever this season with only seven wins in 66 games.
The Bobcats own the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft and can choose from among Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and others
Both Kidd-Gilchrist and Beal worked out for the Bobcats prior to Dunlap’s hiring on Monday, and Robinson is expected to work out Friday. Kidd-Gilchrist, the former Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick and Kentucky star, works out for Cleveland Wednesday.
Known as a master strategist and tactician, Dunlap won two national titles at Division II Metro State in Denver and also served two years as an assistant under Denver Nuggets coach George Karl.
Dunlap also served as the associate head coach at Arizona and an assistant at Oregon before joining the St. John’s staff in 2010.
“He is one of the outstanding minds in the game,” legendary former Arizona coach Lute Olson said when Dunlap was hired. “His strengths are in organization and on-the-floor coaching.”
He coached St. John’s virtually all of last season while Lavin recovered from prostate cancer surgery.
“Naturally after a 25 year association at the highest levels of college basketball I have short list of elite coaching candidates and will now begin the process of replacing Coach Dunlap,” Lavin said. “With our back to back stellar recruiting classes now in place we have the luxury of being able to move forward in a deliberate manner to find the best fit for our program.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.