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Gregg Popovich  

Head Coach of the San Antonio Spurs

Gregg Popovich is an American basketball coach who is currently the head coach of the National Basketball Association's San Antonio Spurs. Taking over as coach of the Spurs in 1996, Popovich is the longest tenured active coach in both the NBA and all Big Four sports leagues. He is often referred to as "Coach Pop" or simply "Pop." He has won four NBA championships as the head coach of the Spurs. He also has the most consecutive winning seasons (playoffs included) of any NBA coach, at 16.

Popovich was born in East Chicago, Indiana, on January 28, 1949, to a Serbian father and Croatian mother. He attended Merrillville High School and graduated in 1970 from the United States Air Force Academy. He played basketball for four seasons at the Academy and in his senior year was the team captain and the leading scorer. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Soviet Studies, and he underwent Air Force intelligence gathering and processing training. At one point, Popovich considered a career with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Popovich served five years of required active duty in the United States Air Force, during which he toured Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union with the U.S. Armed Forces Basketball Team. In 1972, he was selected as captain of the Armed Forces Team, which won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship. This earned him an invitation to the 1972 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team trials.

Popovich returned to the Air Force Academy as an assistant coach in 1973 under head coach Hank Egan, a position he held for six years. Egan would later become an assistant coach under Popovich for the San Antonio Spurs, and later an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers under Mike Brown.

During his time with the coaching staff of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Popovich attended the University of Denver and earned his master's degree in physical education and sports sciences. In 1979, he was named the head basketball coach of Pomona-Pitzer's men's team.

During his time as head coach at Pomona-Pitzer, Popovich became a disciple and later a close friend of head coach Larry Brown at Kansas University. Popovich took off the 1985–1986 season at Pomona-Pitzer to become a volunteer assistant at Kansas, where he could study directly under Brown. Popovich returned to Pomona-Pitzer and resumed his duties as head coach the next season.

On April 4, 2008, Popovich returned to the U.S. Air Force Academy to receive the Academy's award of Distinguished Graduate. Despite his four NBA titles, Popovich said the award possibly was the most meaningful award he had ever received.

In 1994, Popovich returned to San Antonio as the general manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations after current owner Peter Holt purchased the team. Popovich's first move was to sign Avery Johnson to become the team's starting point guard. The two won an NBA title together in 1999.

In 2002, Popovich relinquished his position as general manager. Popovich has won three more championships with the Spurs--2003, 2005 and 2007. Popovich was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2003, 2012, and in 2014. He earned his 500th career victory on March 2, 2006, becoming the fourth-fastest coach in NBA history to reach that milestone. He led the team to a 63–19 season in 2006, which set a new franchise season record. Popovich won his 100th playoff game on May 19, 2008, in a road game against the New Orleans Hornets. The win tied him for third place in all-time playoff coaching victories with his friend and mentor, Larry Brown. On May 2, 2012, Popovich won his second coach of the year award for the 2011–12 NBA season.

On March 22, 2013, Popovich became the second head coach in NBA history to win 900 regular-season games with one team when the Spurs beat the Utah Jazz.

Popovich served on the coaching staff for the U.S. national team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship (assisting George Karl), the 2003 FIBA America Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the 2004 Olympic Games, where the U.S. won a bronze medal.

News


Gregg Popovich returns to San Antonio Spurs after two-game ...

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich returned to the sideline Sunday in Boston after missing two games due to an undisclosed minor medical procedure.

Spurs' Gregg Popovich becomes 9th NBA coach to win 1,000 games ...

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich won the 1000th regular-season game of his 19- year career when San Antonio defeated Indiana, 95-93, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse ...

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