St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap has been hired as the next head coach of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, NBCSports.com has confirmed.
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer was the first to report the news.
Dunlap has been with St. John’s for the past two seasons, brought onto the staff with the hiring of head coach Steve Lavin in May 2010.
He served as the head coach for much of the 2011-12 season, as Lavin recovered from prostate cancer surgery.
Regarded as one of the better X’s and O’s coaches in the country, Dunlap will be the head of a Charlotte team that finished with the worst record in the NBA this season.
He has experience at the NBA level, having been an assistant coach under George Karl with the Denver Nuggets for two seasons.
“Mike Dunlap absolutely elevates every player and team he comes into contact with,” Karl said of Dunlap. “He is our guy. He will take you from good to great. Name any top-level, elite coach in the game – the only difference between Mike and them is their address. There is no higher level of coaching ability than his. There is absolutely no one better.”
Collegiately, he has made stops at Arizona, Iowa, Southern California, California Lutheran, and Oregon, as well as Division II Metro State.
With a historically young team last season, the Red Storm finished 13-19, including 6-12 in the Big East. Freshman Moe Harkless is making the jump to the NBA after just one season, a year in which he averaged 15.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
This leaves St. John’s with a large whole to fill on the bench, now made to fill the place of the team’s best in-game strategist.