NEW ORLEANS (AP) Former long-time NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. is taking his first college coaching job at Tulane, joining a program that has languished at or below .500 for most of the past two decades since last appearing in the NCAA tournament in 1995.
The 62-year-old Dunleavy, whose hiring was announced Monday, is a Brooklyn, New York, native who played for South Carolina before a lengthy career as an NBA player and coach. He’s been the head coach of four NBA teams, most recently the Los Angeles Clippers from 2003 to 2010. He previously coached the Los Angeles Lakers (1990-92), Milwaukee Bucks (1992-96) and Portland Trail Blazers (1997-2001).
His six-year hiatus from coaching ends as he replaces Ed Conroy, who was fired after six seasons. Tulane finished this season 12-22.
Dunleavey’s “reputation as a great evaluator of talent, master of strategy and teacher of the game define him today as one of the top basketball minds in the country at any level,” Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen said. “His commitment to Tulane athletics is a game-changer for our program.”
This marks the second major hire at Tulane for Dannen, who took over as Green Wave athletic director in December. He has also hired new football coach Willie Fritz.
Tulane has scheduled Dunleavy’s formal introduction for Tuesday at the Green Wave’s on-campus basketball arena, Devlin Fieldhouse.
Dunleavy played in all or part or 11 seasons in the NBA between 1976 and 1990 for Philadelphia, Houston, San Antonio and Milwaukee, briefly coming out of a three-year retirement from 1989 to 1990.
As a 17-year NBA coach, Dunleavy won 613 regular season games, which ranks 24th all-time. He has also won 38 playoff games as a coach. He was named the 1999 NBA Coach of the Year with Portland.
A number of his former assistants have gone on to become head coaches in the NBA and in college, including current Nevada head coach Eric Musselman.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to coach the Green Wave and excited to help develop the students-athletes at Tulane into champions,” Dunleavy said in a statement released by Tulane.