The Atlanta Hawks have named Mike Budenholzer (BEW-den-holzer) the team’s new head coach, President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry announced today. Budenholzer becomes the 12th full-time head coach in Hawks history. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
“We are thrilled to have Mike as the next coach of the Atlanta Hawks. He has an incredible basketball acumen and has a keen awareness of the league and what it takes to be successful,” Ferry said. “His experience and four championships over the last 17 years provide a tremendous foundation for his leadership of our team.”
Budenholzer, 43, spent the past 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, including the final 17 seasons as an assistant coach. For the last six seasons, he has served as the team’s no. 1 assistant to current San Antonio Head Coach Gregg Popovich, the longest-tenured head coach in major professional sports and third-winningest coach (by percentage – .681) in NBA history behind only Phil Jackson and Billy Cunningham.
“I have been extremely fortunate to be a part of the San Antonio Spurs organization for the last 19 years. I knew it would have to be a tremendous situation for me to leave and clearly coming to Atlanta as the head coach of the Hawks is perfect for me,” said Budenholzer. “Ownership’s commitment to taking this organization to the next level and creating a unique and special culture, partnering with a general manager like Danny Ferry who I have great respect for, and building a roster that has terrific potential because of the existing core and the ensuing flexibility presents a rare and uniquely positive opportunity.”
During his time with the Spurs, he was a part of one of the most successful eras in NBA history. As an assistant coach since the 1996-97 season, he has helped lead San Antonio to a league-best 908-438 (.675) regular season record and four NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007). Hired by Popovich prior to the 1994-95 season, Budenholzer spent his first two seasons as a video coordinator before being named an assistant coach. On numerous occasions, he served as the Spurs summer league head coach. He also served as an advance scout for Team USA for the 2004 Olympics.
“I couldn’t be happier for Mike for many reasons. As anyone who’s been part of this program knows, he has been more of a co-head coach than an assistant for a long time. His knowledge of the game as well as his ability to teach and develop relationships with players are all special,” said Popovich. “I will miss him a great deal both professionally and personally and am confident that he and Danny will make a great team as the future unfolds.”
Budenholzer is a 1993 graduate of Pomona College where he received a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy and economics and was a four-year letterman in both basketball and golf. Following college, he played professionally in Denmark for the Vejle Basketball Klub, averaging a team-high 27.5 points per game during the 1993-94 season and getting his start in coaching, serving as the head coach for two different teams in the Vejle system.
A native of Holbrook, AZ, he and his wife Mary Bet have four children: Will, Libby, Hanna and John.
Budenholzer will continue serving as the Spurs top assistant until the conclusion of the 2013 NBA Finals.