Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Coaching/GM Influence of the San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford are making an impact on the coaching and front-office world of the NBA. (

The San Antonio Spurs are championship breeders.

This is partially in reference to the play on the court, as not many have been better in the past decade than the Spurs. But this is also referencing the breeding ground for coaches and general managers. Teams have come calling early and often for those who learned from Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford.

Having the Spurs organization on the resume is gold when marketing for a head coaching or general manager position. The tally is up to 11 current coaches and general managers around the NBA, according to, that came from Popovich and Buford's tutelage while in San Antonio. 

Two former assistant coaches left the Spurs this offseason, the first being Mike Budenholzer, who left for the head job in Atlanta, and now Brett Brown, who this week took the head coaching position in Philadelphia. Last season it was Jacque Vaughn, who is heading into his second year as the head coach of the Orlando Magic.

The most well-known assistant of Popovich's is Mike Brown, who is back coaching in Cleveland after being fired by the Lakers. The list of head coaches coming from San Antonio concludes with Monty Williams of the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans' general manager Dell Demps also spent time in the San Antonio front office.

The general managers who have come through the Spurs is even more impressive. Names like Kevin Pritchard (now at Indiana), Sam Presti (Oklahoma City), Danny Ferry (Atlanta), Rob Hennigan (Orlando) and Dennis Lindsey (Utah) all learned what they now incorporate at their respective organizations from their time in San Antonio.

It's easy to see why teams seek men from this organization. The winning helps. A lot. But so does the style of winning. If you find a circus in San Antonio, it will not be inside the AT&T Center. There are no Dwight Howard personalities on this team, and the Spurs are just fine without one, or the talent that accompanies it. Some teams boast about doing things the right way, but that doesn't matter without results. The Spurs have become experts at keeping pride in how the organization is run without compromising winning.

Not every assistant coach or GM who leaves the San Antonio can turn their new team into a mini Spurs organization. There's not enough room at the table for 11 others like it. But as long as Popovich and Buford keep winning, and winning the way they know how, their assistants and members of the front office are going to be receiving a lot of calls. Teams who want to win go to where championships are being bred.

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