The Phoenix Suns signed head coach Alvin Gentry to a contract extension that will keep him with the club through the 2012-13 season.
“It was important to extend Alvin’s contract before this season,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “He proved his mettle as the perfect coach for the Suns last season. We are excited to have him lead our team going forward.”
Originally elevated as the 14th head coach in franchise history on an interim basis on Feb. 16, 2009, Gentry was named the club’s head coach on May 9, 2009. In just 113 games under his leadership, Gentry’s Suns have compiled a 72-41 (.637) record, giving him the third-highest winning percentage among coaches in franchise history (Paul Westphal, Mike D’Antoni).
“This extension gives me the opportunity to keep improving this team,” said Gentry. “It shows I’m working for an owner who wants to win and demonstrates the confidence he has in me. I am really happy to be working with the management team we have in place and am very excited for the start of our new season.”
The 30-year coaching veteran in both the professional and collegiate ranks took the reins of the Suns in 2009 with the stated goals of establishing a homecourt advantage, returning the club to its trademark offensive explosiveness, and developing a young, productive bench.
In just a season-plus under his leadership, the Suns own a 46-12 (.793) home mark, seventh-best of any NBA team in that span, and perhaps most impressively are 31-6 (.838) at home against the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Phoenix has led the NBA in scoring in each of the last two seasons and averaged 112.3 points during his tenure, even more than the trendsetting Suns posted from 2004-05 to 2007-08 (109.8). In 2009-10, the Suns bench ranked 10th in the NBA, averaging 33.2 points. Gentry and the bench gained national attention during the playoffs when the group increased its scoring average to 34.1 points, best in the NBA, as Gentry played 10 or more Suns in 16-straight postseason games for the first time since 1993.
In his first full season on the bench in 2009-10, Gentry was a two-time NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for November 2009 and March 2010. In leading the Suns to 54 wins, his career-high as a coach, and the conference’s third-best record, Gentry finished fifth in NBA Coach of the Year voting.
Gentry became just the fifth head coach in franchise history to lead his team to a Western Conference Finals berth in his first full season. Gentry coached the Suns to 10 postseason victories in 2010, tied for the second-most in a single postseason in franchise history.
In 21 seasons in the NBA, Gentry has enjoyed three other head coaching stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (1997-2000) and Miami Heat (1995). He has worked alongside some of the game’s most respected coaches, including Larry Brown, Kevin Loughery, Doug Collins and Mike D’Antoni. Gentry joined the Suns organization as an assistant coach on June 1, 2004.
A point guard at Appalachian State under Press Maravich and Bobby Cremins, Gentry earned a degree in management in 1997 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistsant at the University of Colorado the following season.
The 55-year-old Gentry is married to Suzanne and has three children: Alexis, Ryan and Matthew.