Mike Budenholzer, 43, spent the past 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, including the final 17 seasons as an assistant coach. For the past six seasons, he has been the right-hand man to coach Gregg Popovich, the longest-tenured head coach in major professional sports and third-winningest coach (.681 winning percentage) in NBA history behind only Phil Jackson and Billy Cunningham. Budenholzer is the 12th head coach in Hawks franchise history.
ATLANTA — San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer was named head coach of the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday after president of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ferry made the hire official.
“We are thrilled to have Mike as the next coach of the Atlanta Hawks. He has an incredible basketball acumen and has a keen awareness of the league and what it takes to be successful,” said Ferry, who played for the Spurs under Gregg Popovich and began his NBA personnel career with the organization. “His experience and four championships over the last 17 years provide a tremendous foundation for his leadership of our team.”
Budenholzer, 43, spent the past 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, including the final 17 seasons as an assistant coach. For the past six seasons, he has been the right-hand man to Popovich, the longest-tenured head coach in major professional sports and third-winningest coach (.681 winning percentage) in NBA history behind only Phil Jackson and Billy Cunningham. Budenholzer is the 12th head coach in Hawks franchise history.
“I have been extremely fortunate to be a part of the San Antonio Spurs organization for the last 19 years. I knew it would have to be a tremendous situation for me to leave and clearly coming to Atlanta as the head coach of the Hawks is perfect for me,” said Budenholzer.
The new Hawks coach then added: “Ownership’s commitment to taking this organization to the next level and creating a unique and special culture, partnering with a general manager like Danny Ferry who I have great respect for, and building a roster that has terrific potential because of the existing core and the ensuing flexibility presents a rare and uniquely positive opportunity.”
Budenholzer replaces outgoing coach Larry Drew, who was not offered a new contract after the Hawks failed to meet expectations this past season, losing once again in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Atlanta is expected to revamp a roster that made the playoffs but has only $25 million in salary committed to four players for next season. Budenhozler will remain with the Spurs for the duration of the postseason before joining the Hawks. San Antonio swept the Memphis Grizzlies late Monday in the Western Conference finals and now awaits the winner from the East between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers.
The Spurs are an NBA-best 908-438 (.675) in the regular season with four NBA titles (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007) since Budenholzer joined the coaching staff in 1996. During his first two seasons, he worked as team video coordinator.
“I couldn’t be happier for Mike for many reasons. As anyone who’s been part of this program knows, he has been more of a co-head coach than an assistant for a long time. His knowledge of the game as well as his ability to teach and develop relationships with players are all special,” Popovich said. “I will miss him a great deal both professionally and personally and am confident that he and Danny will make a great team as the future unfolds.”