Jeff Van Gundy

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Jeff Van Gundy
Jeff Van Gundy.jpg
Jeff Van Gundy (right) was the coach for the Rockets from 2003 to 2007.
Personal information
Born (1962-01-19) January 19, 1962 (age 53)
Hemet, California
Nationality American
Listed height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Listed weight 169 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school Brockport Central (Brockport, New York)
College Menlo College (1981–1982)
Brockport (1982–1983)
Nazareth College (1983–1985)
Position Point guard
Coaching career 1985–2007
Career history
As coach:
1985–1986 McQuaid Jesuit HS
1986–1988 Providence Friars (assistant)
1988–1989 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (assistant)
1989–1996 New York Knicks (assistant)
1996–2001 New York Knicks
2003–2007 Houston Rockets
Career highlights and awards

As coach:

Jeffrey William "Jeff" Van Gundy[1] (born January 19, 1962) is an American basketball coach and TV analyst. He is currently a color commentator for ESPN. He has previously been the head coach of the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association.

Early life[edit]

Van Gundy was born in Hemet, California. He grew up in the town of Brockport, New York. He is the son of a basketball coach, Bill Van Gundy, the former head coach at Brockport State University in Western New York. His older brother Stan Van Gundy later became head coach of the NBA's Miami Heat and Orlando Magic and is currently the Head Coach and Director of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons.

As a high-school point guard, he was a two-time All Greater Rochester selection in 1979 and 1980, leading Brockport Central to the Class AA finals. He continued his career at Nazareth College where he earned All American honors while leading the Golden Flyers to an NCAA Division III Tournament berth in 1984. He remains the Nazareth career leader in free throw percentage at 87%.

Van Gundy attended Yale University before transferring to Menlo College and ultimately graduated from New York's Nazareth College in 1985.

Coaching career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Van Gundy began his basketball coaching career during the 1985-86 season at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, New York. The following year he became a graduate assistant under Rick Pitino at Providence College, helping the Providence Friars advance to the Final Four. In his second season with the Friars he was promoted to assistant coach under Gordon Chiesa. The next season, Van Gundy became an assistant coach under Bob Wenzel at Rutgers.

New York Knicks[edit]

On July 28, 1989, Jeff Van Gundy became assistant coach for the New York Knicks. The next six-and-a-half seasons were spent providing support to Knicks coaches Stu Jackson (1989–1990), John MacLeod (1990–1991), Pat Riley (1991–1995) and Don Nelson (1995–1996). During his tenure as an assistant coach the Knicks won three Atlantic Division titles, never finished lower than third in the division, and qualified for the playoffs every year. The Knicks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1993 and the NBA Finals versus the Houston Rockets in 1994.[2]

Van Gundy was the head coach of the New York Knicks from March 8, 1996 until his resignation on December 8, 2001. He led the team to the playoffs six times, including their Cinderella run to the 1999 NBA Finals. Van Gundy created a memorable scene in the 1998 NBA Playoffs series between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. When the Heat's 6'10", 240-pound center Alonzo Mourning[3] and the Knicks' 6'6", 250-pound forward Larry Johnson[4] engaged in a violent, bench-clearing brawl, Van Gundy unsuccessfully tried to break the fight up. Most memorably, the 5'9", 150-pound Van Gundy[5] fell to the floor and clung to Mourning's leg.[6]

In a 2001 game between the Spurs and Knicks, Danny Ferry elbowed Marcus Camby. While talking to the referee, Camby lost control and tried to punch Ferry. He missed and hit Van Gundy instead.[7]

Houston Rockets[edit]

Van Gundy was hired as head coach of the Houston Rockets in 2003.

In May 2005, Van Gundy was fined $100,000 by the NBA for accusing referees of targeting Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. Van Gundy blamed Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for causing the referees' alleged bias. This is the largest fine handed down to a coach in NBA history.[8]

On May 18, 2007, he was fired from that position after the team's seven-game, first-round playoff loss to the Utah Jazz.

Broadcasting career[edit]

Following his firing from the Rockets in 2007, Van Gundy was a guest analyst for ESPN's broadcast of the Phoenix Suns-San Antonio Spurs game in San Antonio, Texas and has since been a broadcaster for ESPN.[9] Van Gundy now calls many basketball games as a color commentator with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, including the NBA Finals.

Head coaching record[edit]

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
New York 1995–96 23 13 10 .565 2nd in Atlantic 8 4 4 .500 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
New York 1996–97 82 57 25 .695 2nd in Atlantic 10 6 4 .600 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
New York 1997–98 82 43 39 .524 2nd in Atlantic 10 4 6 .400 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
New York 1998–99 50 27 23 .540 4th in Atlantic 20 12 8 .600 Lost in NBA Finals
New York 1999–00 82 50 32 .610 2nd in Atlantic 16 9 7 .563 Lost in Conf. Finals
New York 2000–01 82 48 34 .585 3rd in Atlantic 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
New York 2001–02 19 10 9 .526 (resigned)
Houston 2003–04 82 45 37 .540 5th in Midwest 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
Houston 2004–05 82 51 31 .622 3rd in Southwest 7 3 4 .429 Lost in First Round
Houston 2005–06 82 34 48 .415 5th in Southwest Missed Playoffs
Houston 2006–07 82 52 30 .634 3rd in Southwest 7 3 4 .429 Lost in First Round
Career 748 430 318 .575 88 44 44 .500

Life outside basketball[edit]

Jeff Van Gundy is an executive board member of Pro-Vision, a Houston charter school and non-profit organization in Houston that provides educational, job-training, and mentoring services to boys and girls aged 10–18.

On May 8, 2011, Van Gundy received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Nazareth College during the college's 84th Annual Commencement Ceremony.[10]


External links[edit]