Jeffrey Joseph Bzdelik (born December 1, 1952) is an American basketball coach who's currently an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He formerly was head coach of the Denver Nuggets in the NBA for slightly over two seasons, from 2002 until he was fired near the end of 2004.
Bzdelik began his coaching career in 1978 as an assistant at Davidson College in North Carolina. He moved to Northwestern University in 1980, where he spent six seasons as an assistant, helping the Wildcats to their first NIT appearance in school history. He then took the head coaching position at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County for two years.
Bzdelik was hired in 2001 by the Denver Nuggets to be their East Coast scout. He was promoted to assistant coach in July 2002 and impressed team management by going 6-0 in the Rocky Mountain Revue summer league and motivating the team's young players. He was named the head coach of the Nuggets on August 21, 2002. The team struggled in his first year, winning just 17 games. They bounced back in his second season to finish with 43 wins, reaching the postseason for the first time since 1995 before losing in the first round to eventual Western Conference finalist Minnesota. The Nuggets improved their win total by 26 games - the most ever by a team that won less than 20 games the year before and at the time the sixth-best single-season improvement in NBA history. His club also became the first in the history of the NBA to go from less than 20 wins to the playoffs the next year (since going to an 82-game schedule in 1976). The team had high expectations in his third year after signing Kenyon Martin as a free agent. The Nuggets, though, struggled out of the gate to a 13 - 15 start and Bzdelik was fired on Dec. 28. Martin was one player who spoke up for Bzdelik. "That's the messed up thing. He's not out there playing," Martin said. "He's the head coach and he's got to take the blame. I'm sure if they could fire us, they probably would."
On May 18, 2005, Bzedlik signed a multiyear contract to become the head coach at the US Air Force Academy. The team made a first round NCAA tournament appearance - just the fourth in school history - his first year after finishing with the best record (24-7) in the program's 50-year history. The Falcons have not appeared in the NCAA tournament since. The next year, they surpassed the record from the previous year by winning 26 games and made it to the NIT semifinals.
Bzdelik left Air Force on April 4, 2007, to become the head basketball coach for the ColoradoBuffaloes for three seasons. In his third and final season at CU, Bzdelik's team finished the regular season with four wins in its last six games. A first-round loss to Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament ended the Buff's season and left the team just shy of a winning campaign with a 15-16 record.
On April 13, 2010, Bzdelik left Colorado to become the 21st head men's basketball coach at Wake Forest University. He resigned from Wake Forest in March 2014. Wake Forest fans celebrated his firing by rolling the quad, a popular celebration usually reserved for big wins. During his four seasons at Wake, Bzdelik's teams improved or matched their victory totals each season. The Demon Deacons finished 17-16 in his final season in 2013-14.
On July 31, 2014 he was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies to be an assistant coach. The Grizzlies completed the regular season 55-27, tied for the fifth-best record in the entire NBA. During his 18 years in the NBA, Bzdelik served as a head or assistant coach for 10 teams that advanced to the playoffs.
National champion Postseason invitational champion Conference regular season champion Conference regular season and conference tournament champion Division regular season champion Division regular season and conference tournament champion Conference tournament champion