Eric Musselman

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Eric Musselman
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Associate head coach
Team Arizona State University
Biographical details
Born (1964-11-19)November 19, 1964
Ashland, Ohio
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1988-present Overall Coaching Record: 566-340 (.625 pct.)
NBA record: 108-138 (.439 pct.)
CBA record: 270-122 (.688 pct.)
USBL record: 53-3 (.946 pct.)
NBA D-League record: 77-30 (.719 pct.)
Pro teams coached:
* Rapid City Thrillers, 1989-1995 (CBA)
* Florida Sharks, 1995-1996 (USBL)
* Florida/West Palm Beach Dogs, 1996-1997 (CBA)
* Golden State Warriors, 2002-2004 (NBA)
* Sacramento Kings, 2006-2007 (NBA)
* Reno Bighorns, 2010-2011 (NBADL)
* Los Angeles D-Fenders, 2011-2012 (NBADL)
National teams coached:
* Dominican Nat'l Team: 2010-2011
* U.S. 2011 Team, Adidas Global Experience (2010)
* Team China, Adidas Global Experience (2009)
* Venezuela national basketball team (2011- )
Accomplishments and honors
Awards
* Coach of the Year, NBA D-League, 2011-2012
* 2x USBL champion with Florida Sharks (1994-95, 1995-96)
* Youngest coach in CBA history (23) with Rapid City Thrillers (1988)
* Fastest coach to win 100 CBA games at age 28 (1992)

Eric P. Musselman (born November 19, 1964) is an American basketball coach and the former head coach of the National Basketball Association's Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. In August 2012, he was named an assistant coach to head coach Herb Sendek at Arizona State University.[1] In May 2013, he was promoted to associate head coach.[2]

The son of former NBA head coach Bill Musselman, Eric was a head coach in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) before becoming an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic (under Chuck Daly and Doc Rivers), and Atlanta Hawks (under Lon Kruger).

Between head coaching stints in Golden State and Sacramento, Musselman served as an assistant for the Memphis Grizzlies under Mike Fratello.

Early life[edit]

High school[edit]

Musselman grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and San Diego, California, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended high school in Brecksville, a suburb about 15 miles south of Cleveland. There, he played on the same high school basketball team as former NBA player Scott Roth and former NFL Pro Bowl punter/quarterback Tom Tupa.

College playing career[edit]

Musselman graduated from the University of San Diego, where he played basketball for Jim Brovelli and Hank Egan, both of whom would later work as NBA assistants. While at USD, Musselman was a member of the 1986–87 team that compiled a 24–6 record, the best in school history. The Toreros lost to Auburn University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 62–61. Among Musselman's teammates at USD was Mike Whitmarsh, who won a silver medal in beach volleyball at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Musselman was a fifth-round CBA draft choice of the Albany Patroons in 1987.

Coaching career[edit]

Minor leagues: CBA, USBL, and NBA D-League[edit]

Described by Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins as one the "best teachers" in the D-League,[3] Musselman was named head coach of the Los Angeles D-Fenders on August 18, 2011. During the 2011-12 season, he guided the team to a 38-12 record, the best mark in league history. The D-Fenders, who finished with the best defensive FG percentage in the league, advanced to the D-League finals before losing to the Austin Toros, in a three-game series. In April 2012, Musselman was named the 2011-12 D-League Coach of the Year.[4] A month later, in May 2012, the D-Fenders were named the 2011-12 NBA D-League Development Champion, which recognizes "the team that best embodies the NBA D-League's goals of developing NBA basketball talent via call-ups and assignments."[5]

On August 11, 2010, Musselman was named head coach of the NBA Development League's Reno Bighorns. During the 2010-11 D-League season, Musselman guided the Bighorns to the franchise's first Western Conference title with a 34-16 record, the best record in franchise history. Reno ranked first in the league in Opponent PPG (98.1) and Opponent FG% (.440).

In the CBA, Musselman posted a 270–122 record (.688), marking the second highest winning percentage in league history behind George Karl, who coached for five seasons in the CBA.

From 1990–1997, Musselman had 24 players called up to the NBA, the highest number in the league during that span. He holds the distinction of being the only person in CBA history to coach in five league All-Star Games (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997) and was the first coach in professional basketball history to win 100 games by the age of 28. When he was 23, Musselman became the youngest coach in CBA history.

Musselman also served as head coach of the Florida Sharks of the United States Basketball League (USBL). In the summers of 1995 and 1996, he coached the Sharks to a combined 53–3 record (.946, including playoffs) and back-to-back USBL Championships. He holds the highest winning percentage in league history.

Musselman began his CBA career in 1988 as the general manager of the Rapid City Thrillers, a franchise his father Bill had coached to three consecutive CBA titles during the 1980s. His first week on the job, he hired Flip Saunders as the team's head coach. Saunders, who was recruited by Bill Musselman when Bill was the head coach at the University of Minnesota during the early 1970s, would go on to be one of the winningest coaches in CBA history before moving to the NBA as coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Prior to joining the Thrillers, Musselman worked for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant to General Manager Elgin Baylor and Barry Hecker, the team's director of scouting.

NBA[edit]

Golden State Warriors[edit]

In 2002, Musselman was named the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, a position he held for two years. He finished as runner-up to San Antonio's Gregg Popovich in NBA Coach of the Year Award voting in 2002–2003 with 231 points, including 26 first-place votes.[6] That season, under Musselman's guidance, the Warriors, for the first time in nearly a decade, reached the .500 mark late in the season, holding a record of 30–30 on March 4, 2003. In Musselman's rookie season, his club finished 38–44, the most wins in more than 10 years.

Despite numerous injuries and the loss of the team's top two players in Gilbert Arenas (signed with Washington) and Antawn Jamison (traded to Dallas), the team still finished 37–45 under his direction during the 2003–2004 season. In two seasons as head coach in Golden State, Musselman compiled a 75–89 record. Nevertheless, he was let go after the 2004 season ended as Chris Mullin took over as the team's general manager.

Musselman's .457 winning percentage with Golden State ranks ninth all-time among Warriors coaches, behind George Lee (.470), Mark Jackson (.473), Don Nelson (.487), Al Attles (.518), Bill Sharman (.534), George Senesky (.551), Frank McGuire (.613) and Neil Johnson (.617).

Sacramento Kings 2006-07[edit]

On June 2, 2006, Musselman was named head coach of the Sacramento Kings, replacing Rick Adelman. Four months into the job, on October 21, 2006, Musselman was cited for DUI in Sacramento.[7] According to experts, Musselman, who is 5-foot-7 and weighs 150 pounds, was "one or two drinks over" the legal limit.[8] At the time, Musselman said, "Alcohol has never been a big part of my life. I don't allow it in my house. My sons have never seen me take a sip of anything." According to Ailine Voisin, a sports columnist for the Sacramento Bee, "[Musselman] drinks so infrequently, in fact, that he can count the number of beers he consumes per month."[9]

In the first month of the season (November 2006) with Musselman at the helm, the Kings went 8–5. But the team slumped in December and January, posting a 10–21 record before going 7–6 in February 2007. The Kings finished 33–49 on the season.

Musselman was fired by Sacramento President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie on April 20, 2007, less than 48 hours after the team's final regular season game.[10]

Musselman's .402 winning percentage with Sacramento ranks fourth all-time among Kings coaches, behind Rick Adelman (.633), Reggie Theus (.415) and Garry St. Jean (.403).

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Season Record Playoff Record Key Players
1989–90 Rapid City Thrillers (CBA) 42–14 (.750) 8–8 Keith Smart, Jarvis Basnight, Jim Thomas, Pat Durham, Micheal Williams, Conner Henry, Michael Higgins
1990–91 Rapid City Thrillers (CBA) 37–19 (.660) 9–7 Fennis Dembo, Joe Ward, Stephen Thompson, Fred Cofield, Carlton McKinney, Craig Neal, Nikita Wilson, Pat Cummings, Leon Wood
1992–93 Rapid City Thrillers (CBA) 44–12 (.785) 5–3 Shelton Jones, Cliff Robinson, Stanley Brundy, Craig Neal, Larry Robinson
1993–94 Rapid City Thrillers (CBA) 37–19 (.660) 5–5 Byron Dinkins, Gerald Paddio, John Morton, Wes Matthews, Tom Garrick, George Ackles
1994–95 Rapid City Thrillers (CBA) 31–25 (.553) 0–2 Wayne Tinkle, Corey Crowder, Greg Grant, Billy Thompson, Duane Washington, Ben Coleman, Lester Conner
1995 Florida/Bradenton Sharks (USBL) 24-2 (.923) 1–0 Nate Johnston, Charles E. Smith, Dexter Boney, Darvin Ham, Mark Hughes, Sylvester Gray, Kevin Salvadori
1995–96 Florida/West Palm Beachdogs (CBA) 41–15 (.732) 5–3 Manute Bol, Stanley Jackson, Herb Jones, Rodney Monroe, Keith Smart, Charles E. Smith
1996 Florida/Bradenton Sharks (USBL) 25–1 (.961) 3–0 Mark Boyd, Jarvis Lang, Larry Lewis, Dwayne Morton, Dexter Boney
1996–97 Florida/West Palm Beachdogs (CBA) 38–18 (.678) 7–6 Terrence Rencher, Rodney Monroe, Anthony Tucker, Anthony Miller, Ernest Hall, Mark Macon
2002–03 Golden State Warriors (NBA) 38–44 (.463) None Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Bob Sura, Troy Murphy, Earl Boykins, Eric Dampier, Jason Richardson
2003–04 Golden State Warriors (NBA) 37–45 (.451) None Avery Johnson, Speedy Claxton, Cliff Robinson, Brian Cardinal, Calbert Cheaney, Nick Van Exel
2006–07 Sacramento Kings (NBA) 33–49 (.402) None Kevin Martin, Mike Bibby, Ron Artest, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kenny Thomas, John Salmons, Brad Miller, Francisco Garcia
2010 Dominican Republic National Team 5-1 (.833) N/A Charlie Villanueva, Ronald Ramon, Kelvin Pena, Jack Michael Martinez
2010-11 Reno Bighorns (D-League) 34-16 (.680) 2-3 Jeremy Lin, Bobby Simmons, Patrick Ewing Jr., Marcus Landry, Danny Green, Aaron Miles, D.J. Strawberry, Steve Novak, Salim Stoudamire, Patrick O'Bryant, Nick Fazekas
2011 Venezuela national basketball team 12-9 (.571) N/A Greivis Vasquez, Óscar Torres, Héctor Romero
2011-12 Los Angeles D-Fenders (D-League) 38-12 (.760) 5-2 Gerald Green, Jamaal Tinsley, Kareem Rush, Courtney Fortson, Malcolm Thomas, Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Derrick Caracter, Christian Eyenaga, Jamario Moon, Ish Smith
2012 Venezuela national basketball team 7-4 N/A Greivis Vasquez, Óscar Torres, Héctor Romero

Coaching style[edit]

On his blog, Musselman wrote about the importance of matching an offense to the "team's make up." Depending on the roster, a half-court offense might make more sense. In other cases, a team may be better suited for an "open offense." According to Musselman, the idea is to allow players to "play to their strengths."[11]

As head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Musselman would often use "three-guard rotations to create mismatches and fast-break opportunities for his club."[12] As head coach of the Venezuela National Team, Musselman said his team's identity was that of a "fast-paced, up-tempo team."[13]

According to former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy, Musselman is "as competitive of a guy as I've ever coached against. He's a brilliant offensive mind."[14]

According to University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari, "Eric is one of the best in our sport. Extremely driven and knowledgeable. I've watched and coached against him in the NBA and FIBA games. He has an uncanny feel for the game, and ability to read where the game is at. More importantly, is his ability to motivate and teach his players what it takes to improve and win. He is as good as it gets."[15]

Developing players[edit]

In an August 2011 interview on NBA.com, Musselman said that, as a coach, "you have to continually figure out a way to get your players better."[16] According to Gerald Green, who played for Musselman with the D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders in 2012, Musselman "did a hell of a job really motivating me, really pushing me every day in practice when I was with L.A. I have to give him credit [for improving my game].”[17] Green said that Musselman "rode me about staying focused. Don’t take even a second off of any play. Don’t take any plays off. Don’t take practice for granted."[18]

Like Green, Jeremy Lin has also credited Musselman with aiding his development. In February 2012, Lin said that when he played for Musselman in the D-League, "he gave me the opportunity to play through mistakes."[19]

Gregory Echenique, who played for Musselman on the Venezuela National Team in 2011, said Musselman "had the most energy of any coach I've ever been around. He had a problem with his Achilles, and he would throw his crutches down and literally crawl to get after you. From the first day we met him to when we left him, his intensity never changed. It didn't matter who you were — he was in your face if he needed to be. At the same time, he was so positive. He always believed we could win. He was the guy that put the fire into us."[20]

Kevin Martin (basketball), who played for Musselman with the Sacramento Kings in 2006-07, told NBA.com that Musselman helped him learn how to draw more fouls. According to Martin, Musselman "saw how teams were playing me and how they got up into me and told me to start absorbing that contact. He said I could score a lot more points in this league if I got to the free throw line. He put an emphasis on me night in night out with that part of the game. He was always pounding it into me and it paid off."[21]

In a May 9, 2013, article by CBSSports.com college basketball writer Gary Parrish, Arizona State guard Jahii Carson credited Musselman with helping him develop as a player. "Coach Muss is a great guy with a lot of knowledge because he's coached a lot of great players," said Carson. "He's given me a lot of great advice … about what NBA people are looking for, about how NBA guys don't take days off, how they're always in the gym doing conditioning or something, always trying to better their games. A guy like me? I didn't know anything like that having never been around the NBA game. So, he's somebody who has helped me."[22]

Move to the college ranks[edit]

In October 2007, ESPN reported that Musselman had a desire to coach at the collegiate level. According to Andy Katz, senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com, "Musselman wants to coach in college and is starting the process of getting his name out among search committees so that he's a viable candidate in March."[23] In late December 2007, FOX Sports reported that Musselman was a likely candidate to replace 71-year-old Eddie Sutton at the University of San Francisco after this season.[24] In January 2008, his name surfaced in press reports surrounding the head coaching position at Oregon State.[25] In March 2008, Musselman's name surfaced in published reports about the California and Loyola Marymount head coaching positions.[26]

On August 30, 2012, Andy Katz reported on ESPN.com's College Basketball Nation Blog that Arizona State University was in talks to hire Musselman as an assistant coach on Herb Sendek's staff.[27] On September 2, 2012, Katz confirmed Musselman's hiring, describing it as a "bold move" and a "coup" for Sendek.[28]

Former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy predicted that Musselman will be an excellent recruiter "because of his competitive nature and what he has to sell. This is a guy who can tell kids exactly what it takes to play in the NBA."[29]

Fifteen games into Arizona State's 2012-13 season, ESPN's Andy Katz wrote that "It's hard to ignore the difference [guard Jahii] Carson and assistant coach Eric Musselman are making at Arizona State." According to Katz, "The Sun Devils were painful to watch last season. Now, ASU has multiple options and while it still grinds out wins..."[30]On January 9, 2013, ESPN's Jason King wrote that "adding former NBA head coach Eric Musselman...to his staff has also been a huge plus for Sendek and his players." Quoted in King's story, Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski said, "When [Musselman and Greer] speak, guys listen, just because they have that credibility from being in the league. The way they approach the game … it's no BS. They say, 'This is how it's done. If you don't like it, you're not going to play.'"[31]

In a radio interview after the 2012-13 season, Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson said, "I think Eric's going to have opportunities to look at head coaching jobs. He's a very qualified coach. He did a great job, I think, teaching and working here."[32]

In a March 26, 2013, post on the ESPN Los Angeles UCLA blog, Peter Yoon described Musselman as one of the "best under-the-radar candidates out there."[33]

International coaching[edit]

In July 2009, Musselman reportedly turned down an offer to coach Spartak St. Petersburg in Russia.[34] On May 19, 2010, Musselman was named head coach of the Dominican Republic national basketball team.[35]

At the 2010 Men’s Centro Basketball Championship in July 2010, FIBA Americas' top regional tournament, Musselman guided the Dominican Republic team to the Gold Medal game, losing to Puerto Rico, 89-80, the team's only loss of the tournament (5-1). By finishing second at the Centro Basketball Championship, the Dominican Republic qualifies for the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship, a qualifying tournament for the FIBA World Championships and the Olympic Games.[36]

In August 2010, Musselman coached the U.S. 2011 team to the gold medal at the Adidas Global Experience in Chicago. The 2011 team is composed of the top high school seniors in the U.S. The tournament featured the world's top 18-and-under players from five regions of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Musselman was the head coach of Team China at the 2009 Adidas Nations camp/tournament in Beijing, China.

In May 2011, the FIBA World Championship website reported that Musselman had interviewed for the head coaching position of the Puerto Rico men's national basketball team.[37] Earlier that month, he was mentioned as a candidate for the Venezuela national basketball team.[38] On June 15, 2011, Musselman was named head coach of the Venezuela national basketball team.[39]

Under Musselman, Venezuela qualified for the 2012 World Pre-Olympic Qualifier by going 4-4 at the FIBA Americas 2011 Pre-Olympic Qualifier in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Venezuela was the top-scoring team in the tournament, averaging 94.8 points per game, 9 points more than the second highest-scoring team. Venezuela went 8-5 in international exhibition games ("friendlies") leading up to the tournament.[40]

Musselman guided Venezuela to a runner-up (silver) finish at the 2012 FIBA Men's South American Championship, posting a 3-2 record. With the second-place finish, Venezuela advanced to the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, qualifier to the 2014 FIBA World Championship.[41] The team went 1-1 in the 2012 FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament, defeating the Nigeria national team, the team that ultimately advanced to the 2012 Summer Olympics. Venezuela was also 3-1 in friendly games and won the 2012 Super 4 in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela.

Possible return to the NBA[edit]

According to a December 30, 2009, report by Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA columnist for Yahoo! Sports, Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman "was on the phone asking about exiled NBA coach Eric Musselman."[42]

In June 2010, Musselman reportedly interviewed with Avery Johnson for a position on Johnson's staff with the New Jersey Nets.[43] That same month, Musselman was reported to be among the assistant coaching candidates for Tom Thibodeau's staff with the Chicago Bulls.[44]

In July 2010, Musselman was reportedly a finalist for Doc Rivers' coaching staff with the Boston Celtics.[45]

Sports broadcasting career[edit]

From 2008 to 2010, he served as an NBA analyst for FOX Sports Radio and Clear Channel Radio, and as a color commentator for college basketball games on the regional sports network Comcast SportsNet California and for NBA Development League games on Versus. He's also worked as a basketball analyst for ESPN.

Personal life[edit]

Musselman and his wife Danyelle Sargent, a former on-air personality and anchor for ESPN, FOX Sports, and the NFL Network, have a daughter (Mariah). Musselman also has two sons (Michael and Matthew) from a previous marriage. They live in Northern California.[46] Musselman's sister, Nicole, is a fashion designer in Dallas, Texas.[47]

References[edit]

External links[edit]