The Atlanta Hawks have named longtime Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer as head coach.
General manager Danny Ferry called on his past experience with San Antonio to select Budenholzer to replace Larry Drew as coach. Drew’s contract expires in June following three seasons as coach.
The Hawks have scheduled a news conference for Budenholzer on Wednesday in Atlanta.
The Hawks lost to Indiana in the first round of the playoffs. It was the team’s sixth straight appearance in the playoffs, but Ferry is expected to continue his dramatic makeover of the team after trading Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams in his first year as general manager.
The Hawks say Budenholzer will continue serving as the Spurs’ top assistant through the NBA finals. The Spurs completed a four-game sweep of Memphis in the Western Conference finals on Monday.
Ferry came to the Hawks last year after two years as vice president of basketball operations for the Spurs. With Budenholzer, Ferry now has his own coach after inheriting Drew.
”He has an incredible basketball acumen and has a keen awareness of the league and what it takes to be successful,” Ferry said Tuesday. ”His experience and four championships over the last 17 years provide a tremendous foundation for his leadership of our team.”
Budenholzer, 43, spent 19 years with the Spurs, including 17 seasons as an assistant. He was the top assistant for coach Gregg Popovich the last six years.
”I have been extremely fortunate to be a part of the San Antonio Spurs organization for the last 19 years,” Budenholzer said in a statement released by the Hawks. ”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.
”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.”
Budenholzer began his time with the Spurs as the team’s video coordinator for two years before being named an assistant coach.
Budenholzer will leave the Spurs with Popovich’s blessing.
”I couldn’t be happier for Mike for many reasons,” Popovich said. ”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. 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.”