Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bobcats hire St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap as head coach

The Charlotte Bobcats have hired St. John's assistant coach Mike Dunlap to be their new head coach according to the The Charlotte Observer.

Dunlap, 54, is the former Denver Nuggets assistant who was acting head coach at St. John's last season while Steve Lavin recovered from prostate surgery.

Sources told the newspaper that Dunlap was offered the job, after interviewing in Charlotte with owner Michael Jordan, vice-chairman Curtis Polk, president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho.  Dunlap accepted the offer.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity Monday because Dunlap's hire isn't official — yet.  The choice comes as a bit of a surprise because  Dunlap was not one of the team's three finalists and rejoined  the picture late.  The team had trimmed the list down to former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder.

Dunlap was one of 10 candidates interviewed since the Bobcats began their search May 8.  He will replace Paul Silas, who was not given a new contract following last season's dismal 7-59 record.

Dunlap— who has spent most of his career at the college level— worked for Lute Olsen in Arizona and essentially ran the St. John's program last season while Steve Lavin observed from off the court.  Early in his career he was an assistant at USC and Iowa.

His only NBA experience was two seasons in the NBA with the Nuggets working under head coach George Karl in 2007-08.  The Nuggets compiled a 95-69 record during his tenure and made two playoff appearances.

Karl had nothing but praise for his former assistant earlier this year on the St. John's athletic department website.

"Mike Dunlap absolutely elevates every player and team he comes in contact with," said Karl.  "He takes you from a good to great.  Name every top-level, elite coach in the game— the only difference between Mike and them is their addresses. . . There is absolutely no one better."

Word is that Dunlap impressed the Bobcats front office with his high energy and collaborative approach.  Also, he wants to run an up-tempo offense and attacking defense that figures to fit in with the young team's personality.

Dunlap will be the Bobcats fifth coach in its nine-year history.

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