Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman today announced his retirement from coaching in the NBA after 23 seasons as a head coach. Adelman will remain with the Wolves in a consultant role.
“I think it’s time for me to step aside,” said Adelman. “When I came here, we really tried to see if we could turn some things around and we made some strides. Not as much as we would have liked, but I think it’s time for me to step aside and let someone else come in with this group. We’re not that far away. I really enjoyed my time here. I thank Glen so much. He’s the best owner I’ve ever been around. Not only as an owner, but as a person and everything. It’s been an enjoyable experience, but I’m ready and my wife’s ready to move on to another phase. We’re looking forward to that.”
Adelman ranks eighth all-time in NBA coaching wins with a 1042-749 (.582 winning percentage) career record in 23 seasons as a head coach. Adelman took over a Wolves team prior to the 2011-12 campaign that had won 15 and 17 games the previous two seasons, and won 26, 31 and 40 games under his leadership. With a win over Detroit on April 6, 2013, Adelman became the eighth NBA head coach to record 1,000 wins in a career. By reaching the milestone in his 1,703rd NBA game, Adelman became the fifth-fastest NBA head coach to win 1,000 NBA games.
“On behalf of the Minnesota Timberwolves, I would like to thank Rick for all he has done for our organization,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “Under Rick’s leadership, our team has improved each of the past three seasons. It has been a pleasure getting to know Rick and his wife Mary Kay, and I wish them the best in retirement.”
“Coach Adelman is truly one of the greatest coaches in our game’s history, and he has helped restore credibility and respectability to the Timberwolves franchise through what he stands for both on and off the court,” said Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders. “He has impacted the NBA with his offensive vision and influenced the philosophies of many coaches in the league. I wish Rick and Mary Kay the very best in their future, and look forward to his continued contributions to the Timberwolves organization.”
Adelman, 67, served as head coach of five NBA teams: Portland (1988-94), Golden State (1995-97), Sacramento (1998-2006), Houston (2007-11) and Minnesota (2011-2014). Some of his coaching highlights include: two NBA Finals appearances (1990 and 1992 with Portland), four Western Conference Finals (1989-90, 1990-91 and 1991-92 with Portland and 2001-02 with Sacramento) and four division titles (1990-91 and 1991-92 with Portland; 2001-02 and 2002-03 with Sacramento).
“Rick Adelman established himself as one of our game’s great coaches, manning the NBA sidelines for the better part of a quarter century,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “One of only eight coaches in our history to amass 1,000 victories, Rick’s versatility and rapport with his players ultimately led to that legacy of success. On behalf of the NBA, I would like to thank Rick for his extraordinary service to the league.”
Adelman’s teams reached the NBA playoffs in 16 of his 23 seasons as a head coach, and he holds an all-time playoff record of 79-78 (.503 winning percentage). He is one of only five head coaches in NBA history to win 60+ games in a season with two different teams (Portland and Sacramento). Adelman has been runner-up for the NBA Coach of the Year award four times.
Adelman’s trademark offenses have finished among the top five in the NBA in scoring on 14 occasions over his head coaching career. He has had four additional teams rank in the top 10 in points per game.
Adelman began his coaching career at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, where his teams amassed a 141-39 record over six seasons (1977-83). Chemeketa won or shared in three Oregon community college championships and one regional title.
As a player, Adelman spent seven seasons in the NBA with the San Diego Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Jazz and Kansas City-Omaha Kings. Selected by the Rockets in the seventh round (79th overall) of the 1968 NBA Draft, the 6-2 guard averaged 6.7 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in two seasons as a reserve in San Diego. Adelman was taken by Portland in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft and was made the first team captain in Trail Blazers history. Traded by the Trail Blazers to the Bulls prior to the 1973-74 campaign, Adelman was again dealt to the Jazz early in the 1974-75 season. Looking for veteran leadership in their run to the 1975 NBA Playoffs, the Kings made a late-season acquisition to obtain Adelman. He retired in 1975 with career averages of 7.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 462 regular season games.
Adelman began his playing career at St. Pius X High School in Downey, California, before attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he was named MVP of the West Coast Athletic Conference as a senior in 1967-68.
A native of Lynwood, California, Adelman and his wife, Mary Kay, who have been married for more than 40 years, enjoy playing golf and tennis, as well as spending time with their six children: Kathy and her husband, John, R.J., Laura and her husband, Chris, David and his wife Jenny, Caitlin and her husband Jeff, and Patrick; and eight grandchildren: Mary Kay, Anna, Mackenzie, Emilie, Madison, Zachary, Tyler and L.J.