The Gregg Popovich coaching tree is a well that never runs dry
Gregg Popovich is the longest-tenured head coach in the NBA. When you spend nearly three decades and win five championship rings with a single franchise, the rest of the league will naturally come knocking at your front door for the ever-elusive recipe to success.
Every dynasty has superstars and an iconic playcaller that carries them to basketball immortality. But assistant coaches and role players are unsung heroes that keep everything glued together behind the scenes. And if you can't convince Gregg Popovich to ditch the 2-1-0, your next best option is to poach his staff with a lucrative payday.
Other organizations go an alternative route, waiting for his former players to hang up their sneakers and trade them in for a clipboard. Regardless of how teams get their hands on these prized Gregg Popovich disciples, you cannot deny the influence of his coaching tree on the hoops landscape.
Following some preliminary research, there appears to be at least 46 active NBA, WNBA, NCAA, G League, EuroLeague, FIBA, and high school coaches and executives that spent time cutting their teeth under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio as a player, assistant, intern, or front office member.
Spurs fans should have no trouble recognizing household names like Mike Budenholzer, Becky Hammon, Steve Kerr, Sean Marks, Bruce Bowen, Chip Engelland, Boris Diaw, Sam Presti, and Mike Brown. And more could be on the way soon.
The Atlanta Hawks have a coaching vacancy after firing Nate McMillan in the middle of his third go-round with the club on Tuesday. The candidates for that opening will reportedly include fourth-year Spurs assistant Mitch Johnson and one-time Austin Toros head coach Quin Snyder.
Until General Manager Landry Fields, who spent four seasons working for the San Antonio G League affiliate, decides who deserves the playcalling duties in Atlanta, former Popovich assistant Joe Prunty will hold down the fort.
Everything must come to an end. That universal law always applies unless you are the Gregg Popovich coaching tree. The stern-faced 74-year-old is approaching the twilight of his celebrated career, but as long as he camps out on the sidelines to offer a helping hand to aspiring coaches, the talent pool in San Antonio will never run dry.