Mike Dunleavy, Sr.
The 1999 NBA Coach of the Year, Dunleavy has over 30 years of NBA experience, either as a player, general manager or head coach. A 17-year NBA head coach, Dunleavy won 613 regular season games, the 24th-most in NBA history, with four different teams (Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Clippers) and amassed 38 playoff victories in his career.
Along the way, he coached five future Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers, including Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Moses Malone, Scottie Pippen, Arvydas Sabonis and James Worthy. A total of six players under Dunleavy were named NBA All-Stars on nine occasions, including Johnson (1992 MVP), Worthy, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Rasheed Wallace and Vin Baker. As a general manager, he drafted six players who later earned NBA All-Star selections, including Glenn Robinson (10x), Ray Allen (10x), Vin Baker (4x), Blake Griffin (5x), DeAndre Jordan (1x) and Chris Kaman (1x).
Dunleavy’s longest tenure was with the Los Angeles Clippers for seven seasons (2003-10). He led the club to 215 victories and seven playoff victories. The Clippers’ best season under Dunleavy came during the 2005-06 campaign when he led the franchise to 47 wins and an appearance in the Western Conference semifinals. He stepped down as head coach in 2010 to serve as the team’s general manager.
Dunleavy began his coaching career in 1987 as an assistant coach with the Bucks, where he served for three seasons (1987-1990). He earned his first head coaching job in 1990 with the Los Angeles Lakers, succeeding Pat Riley. During his rookie season (1990-91), he led a lineup that featured the combination of Johnson and Worthy to a Western Conference title and to the NBA Finals where the Lakers lost the series to the Michael Jordan- and Pippen-led Chicago Bulls.
Following the 1991-92 season, Dunleavy became the head coach in Milwaukee, where he led the Bucks to 107 wins in four seasons (1992-96) while also serving as the team’s Vice President of Basketball Operations. He stepped away from the bench prior to the 1996-97 season to concentrate on his general manager duties with the Bucks for one season before taking the head coaching job in Portland.
Dunleavy coached the Trail Blazers for four seasons (1997-2001) and led the franchise to a 190-106 (.642) overall record and four-straight playoff appearances. The Blazers made back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference Finals in 1999 and 2000. Dunleavy’s 1999-2000 team won 59 games, which matched the second-best single-season victory total in franchise history. Dunleavy earned the 1999 NBA Coach of the Year award after leading the 1998-99 Blazers to a Pacific Division-winning 35-15 record.
Dunleavy played at South Carolina from 1972-76 under legendary coach Frank McGuire and was a sixth-round draft pick (99th overall) by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1976. He played for the 76ers alongside future Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving and helped the team to the NBA Finals as a rookie.
Over the course of a 12-year NBA career, Dunleavy played in 438 games which included stops with Philadelphia (1976-77), the Houston Rockets (1978-82), San Antonio Spurs (1982-83) and Milwaukee Bucks (1983-85, 88-90). His best season was with the Rockets during the 1980-81 campaign when he averaged 10.5 points per game and started on a team that played in the NBA Finals. In his lone season in San Antonio, Dunleavy led the NBA in three-point percentage, connecting at a .345 (67-194) clip from behind the arc.
A back injury prompted his unofficial retirement following the 1984-85 season and he worked for a New York investment firm before returning to the NBA as an assistant coach with Milwaukee for the 1986-87 season. He stayed on the Bucks’ bench through the 1989-90 campaign, but returned to uniform in parts of two seasons (1988-89, 1989-90) when injuries to the Bucks’ backcourt forced Dunleavy into the lineup.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Dunleavy played collegiately at the University of South Carolina, where he led the team in assists as a freshman and finished his career third all-time in scoring with 1,586 points. Dunleavy helped the Gamecocks to 81 victories and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. He appeared in 111 consecutive games, starting his last 105. Dunleavy was a straight-A student, majoring in psychology while at South Carolina.
He played his prep basketball at Nazareth High School in Brooklyn, where he earned All-New York City honors as a senior and had his number 44 jersey retired. Dunleavy was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Basketball Old-Timers of America Hall of Fame in Brooklyn in May of 2017.
Dunleavy and his wife, Emily, have three sons: Mike, Baker and James. Mike, Jr. was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft and finished his 15th NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks in 2016-17. Baker was hired as the men’s basketball head coach at Quinnipiac University in March of 2017 after seven successful seasons as an assistant at Villanova University. James is an NBA player agent and Vice President of Basketball at Independent Sports & Entertainment (ISE).
Mike and Emily are also the proud grandparents of Mike, Jr.’s three kids, as well as Baker’s two children.