Lakers Coaching Candidate Profile: Jeff Van Gundy

(Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Jeff Van Gundy, age 52, born in Hemet, CA, and grew up in Brockton, NY. 

College: Nazareth College

Basketball playing career stats:

Nazareth College Golden Flyers 1983-85 (2 Seasons), Point Guard

Coaching resume:

NBA Career Coaching Record: 430-318, .575 winning percentage (regular season)

NBA career playoff record: 44-44, .500 winning percentage

11 seasons NBA Head Coaching Experience

1 NBA Finals Appearance (1999 Knicks)

2x reaching Conference Finals (1999 and 2000 with Knicks)

Has qualified for the NBA Playoffs in 9 of his 11 seasons coaching.

NBA head coaching jobs: 

New Jersey Knicks 1995-2002 (7 seasons)

Houston Rockets 2003-07 (4 seasons)

Coaching Highlights:

  • Coached the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1999 as the 8th seed which was the first and only team to achieve such feat
  • Coached the Eastern Conference in the 2000 NBA All Star Game as coach of the New York Knicks
  • Coached coached under Head Coach Rick Pitino at Providence in 1986 through 1988 which includes a Final Four appearance in 1987
  • Long seven year tenure as a Knicks Assistant Coach, from 1989-96, which includes coaching under head coaches Pat Riley, Stu Jackson, John MacLeod and Don Nelson. During his tenure as an assistant the Knicks qualified for the playoffs every season, won three Atlantic Division titles and made it to the NBA Finals in 1994
  • His New York Knicks held their opponents to under 100 points for 33 consecutive games which at the time was the second longest stretch in the NBA since the introduction of the shot clock.

Notable players coached:

Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Charles Oakley, Larry Johnson, Latrell Spreewell, Mark Jackson, Glen Rice, Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, Dikembe Mutombo, Shane Battier and Yao Ming .

Coaching Style: 

  • Ardent defensive minded coach
  • Emphasizes heavy ball pressure on defense
  • Coached teams always rank near top of the league in defensive statistical categories and bottom of league in offense
  • Offensive focus is working out of the post, although, in both his coaching stints he had a premium low post, back to the basket scorer in Patrick Ewing and Yao Ming
  • Slow, methodical pace on offense. Limits possessions per game
  • Very intense and involved on the sidelines during games
  • Constantly works officials during games

Fun facts:

  • Coached Mark Jackson both in New York and Houston. Jackson later be paired with Jeff Van Gundy as the in-game analyst for ABC and ESPN along with play by play announcer, Mike Breen.
  • Father is long time coach Bill Van Gundy who coached for 4 decades with Brockton State University and Genesee Community College
  • Older Brother is former Miami Heat and Orlando Magic head coach, Stan Van Gundy

 Not so fun facts: 

  • Received the largest fine ever handed down by the NBA to a head coach in May of 2005 when coaching the Houston Rockets for comments to the press stating the he believed that the officials were targeting Yao Ming
  • This happened:

van gundy leg

– Fern Rea

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Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom