The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Mike Brown as head coach, it was announced today. The two sides have had a widely-reported agreement for a while now, but the actual hiring just became official Tuesday afternoon, about three hours before the start of 2011 NBA Finals Game 1 between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.
Brown, the 22nd head coach in franchise history and 18th in the Los Angeles era, spent last season as an NBA analyst for ESPN after previously serving as head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hired by the Cavaliers in June of 2005, the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year posted a 272-138 regular season record over five seasons as well as a 42-29 postseason mark, ranking fifth in NBA history (minimum 400 games) with a .663 regular season win percentage and 10th in NBA history (minimum 25 games) with a .592 playoff win percentage.
The fourth youngest coach in NBA history to win 60 games in a season, Brown led the Cavaliers to the 2007 NBA Finals and NBA-best records in both 2008-09 (66-16) and 2009-10 (61-21). His 2008-09 team became just the 12th team in NBA history to record 66 victories in a season while he and his staff earned the honor midway through that season to coach the Eastern Conference All-Star Team at the 2009 All-Star Game in Phoenix, AZ.
“We’re very pleased to welcome Mike Brown to the Lakers,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “What Mike brings to the table is unique in that he’s a proven winner in this league and yet also a rising star in his profession. After an extensive and thorough search to find the right person to help carry on our championship legacy, we feel that Mike is poised and ready to do so.”
Brown joined the Cavaliers after spending two seasons as the associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers and three seasons as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. Posting a 341-201 (.629) record as an assistant coach, he won division titles with Indiana (2003-04) and three straight division titles with San Antonio (2000-03). While with the Spurs, Brown’s teams won at least 58 games each season as well as the 2003 NBA Championship. In his two seasons in Indiana, he helped the Pacers to consecutive playoff appearances including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004.
Brown, a 1992 graduate of the University of San Diego with a degree in business, played basketball two seasons at USD after spending two years at Mesa Community College. The 41-year-old (born March 5, 1970 in Columbus, Ohio) began his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets in 1992, where he spent five seasons, first as the team’s video coordinator and then as a scout. Following his time with the Nuggets, Brown spent three years with the Washington Wizards beginning in 1997, spending the first two years as an assistant under Bernie Bickerstaff and his final year as the team’s professional scout.
Fan reaction to the news has been in this forum topic.