Cleveland’s Mike Brown is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced today.
Brown totaled 355 points, including 55 first-place votes, from a panel of 122 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
In his fourth season at the helm in Cleveland, Brown guided the Cavaliers to a franchise- and NBA-best 66-16 (.805) season, marking only the 12th time an NBA team has won at least 66 games. Cleveland started the season with a franchise-best 23-straight wins at Quicken Loans Arena and finished with the best home record in the league at 39-2. Cleveland is the sixth team in NBA history to record 39 home wins and the first to do so since the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers’ 21-game improvement over last year’s 45-37 record tied the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the second biggest improvement all-time among teams with at least 45 wins in the previous season.
Brown was named NBA Coach of the Month for December, February and March. At the All-Star break, Cleveland owned the highest winning percentage in the Eastern Conference (36-9, .800), earning Brown the spot as head coach for the East in Phoenix. It was Brown’s first appearance as an All-Star head coach and the second in franchise history (Lenny Wilkens, 1989).
Brown led the Cavaliers to at least 45 wins in each of his first three campaigns, marking only the second time Cleveland won that many games in three consecutive seasons (1991-92 to 1993-94). With a combined regular season record of 211-117 (.643) in four seasons, Brown has the highest winning percentage of any head coach in franchise history. In each of his first three seasons in Cleveland, Brown has led the Cavaliers to the playoffs, amassing a franchise-best 26-20 (.565) postseason record. In 2007, he led Cleveland to its first trip to The Finals.
Brown joined the Cavaliers after two seasons as associate head coach for the Indiana Pacers. Prior to that, Brown served as assistant coach for three seasons in San Antonio, helping guide the Spurs to the 2003 NBA championship. Brown began his coaching career with the Washington Wizards, where he spent two seasons as an assistant coach under Bernie Bickerstaff.
The Coach of the Year Award is named after legendary coach and Hall of Famer Red Auerbach who guided the Celtics to nine NBA Championships. In 1996, Auerbach was honored as one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History as the NBA celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Houston coach Rick Adelman finished second in the voting with 13 first-place votes and 151 total points.
Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy finished third with 13 first-place votes and 150 total points.
Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan finished fourth with 15 first-place votes and 127 total points.
Denver Nuggets coach George Karl finished fifth with 11 first-place votes and 117 total points.
The next five coaches to receive some votes were Jerry Sloan, Erik Spoelstra, Mike Woodson, Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers.