The Portland Trail Blazers, a spunky and spirited bunch of basketballers, are currently battling the heavyweight Golden State Warriors in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
For Bucks fans yearningly watching, wondering how long they have to wait and #OwnTheFuture before their team participates in the postseason, the head coach of the Blazers has a familiar face. It’s the clean-shaven and not-infrequently-bewildered face of Terry Stotts, former head coach in Milwaukee.
Stotts has led Portland to the playoffs in three straight seasons, this year winning 51 games and the Northwest Division despite the loss in free agency of star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. He’s had an impressive run with the Blazers, but Stotts isn’t the only former Bucks head coach taking part in the postseason. Both Larry Drew and Jim Boylan, the last two Milwaukee coaches before Jason Kidd, are assistants with the Cavaliers.
Seeing Stotts pace the sidelines, furrowing his brow at a team that wasn’t the Bucks, got us to thinking: Where are all the other former Milwaukee head coaches these days? What are they up to? Have they found success and love and happiness?
We know Don Nelson has found the latter two, as he’s retired in Hawaii and in the process of building a house made out of hemp. Larry Costello, who led the Bucks to their only NBA championship in 1971, passed away in 2001; Del Harris is now the vice president of the D-League’s Texas Legends; and Frank Hamblen, bless his 65-game interim tenure in 1991-92, is retired.
But what about those coaches from the last two decades? There were nine of them, from Dunleavy to Drew, before Kidd took over, and they compiled a .424 winning percentage in 1,756 combined games. All nine were still active coaches as of the end of the 2015-16 NBA regular season, including two assistants and a coaching consultant.
So, where are they now and how are they doing? Here’s a quick update.
1. Mike Dunleavy
Bucks tenure: 1992-96
Bucks record: 107-221 (.326)
Now: Head coach at Tulane University, which will be his first college job and first coaching position since 2010.
2. Chris Ford
Bucks tenure: 1996-98
Bucks record: 69-95 (.421)
Now: Coaching consultant with the New York Knicks, at least according to his LinkedIn profile.
3. George Karl
Bucks tenure: 1998-2003
Bucks record: 205-173 (.542)
Now: Fired on April 14 as head coach of the Sacramento Kings – he’s one game shy of coaching 2,000 in his career – after a highly stressful season of being someone who had to have daily interactions with DeMarcus Cousins.
4. Terry Porter
Bucks tenure: 2003-05
Bucks record: 71-93 (.433)
Now: Head coach at the University of Portland, which hired the longtime city resident (and Milwaukee native) last month after seven years as the alumni ambassador for the Trail Blazers.
5. Terry Stotts
Bucks tenure: 2005-07
Bucks record: 63-83 (.432)
Now: Head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, who are currently competing in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
6. Larry Krystkowiak
Bucks tenure: 2007-07
Bucks record: 31-69 (.310)
Now: Head coach at the University of Utah, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament this year led by a center (Jakob Poeltl) who could be drafted by Milwaukee.
7. Scott Skiles
Bucks tenure: 2008-2013
Bucks record: 162-182 (.471)
Now: Head coach of the Orlando Magic, who went 35-47 last year and have a core of young players that rivals that of the Bucks.
8. Jim Boylan
Bucks tenure: 2013
Bucks record: 22-28 (.444)
Now: Assistant coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are the favorites to win the Eastern Conference with LeBron James – sorry, Tyronn Lue – calling the plays.
9. Larry Drew
Bucks tenure: 2013-14
Bucks record: 15-67 (.183)
Now: Assistant coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and a contender for the NBA championship, which would be funny because two years ago his Bucks team had the worst record in the league.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.