|Born||Thomas Edward Nissalke
July 7, 1932
|Occupation||NCAA collegiate and NBA coach, sportscaster, sports executive|
|Spouse(s)||Nancy Nissalke – 1960–2006 (her death)|
|Children||Thomas Nissalke II, Holly, with two grandchildren, Caroline Anne and Bella Grace|
Thomas Edward "Tom" Nissalke (born July 7, 1932) is a retired former American professional basketball coach in the NBA and American Basketball Association. He has coached several teams in both leagues, and has an overall coaching record of 371–508.
After a season with the then-Dallas Chaparrals (where he won ABA coach of the Year), Nissalke moved to the NBA with the Sonics for one season. He returned to the team, now in San Antonio, in 1973, bringing with him "a patterned, deliberate offense to San Antonio". During his tenure, the "Iceman" George Gervin had arrived from the Virginia Squires and was the center of the team. Though Nissalke's club was successful, he was fired in the beginning of the 1974–75 ABA season. Nissalke, who is a graduate of Florida State University, first got his start in coaching on the high school-prep level at the Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He later worked his way onto the college ranks at the University of Wisconsin and Tulane.
Early pro coaching career
Nissalke then went to Utah with the ABA's Stars, but the club folded, surprisingly, at mid-season in the ABA's last hurrah in 1975–76. According to Remember the ABA, he has the final game ball in his closet.
Later coaching career
Nissalke later coached the then other existing Texas professional basketball team, the NBA's Houston Rockets (winning another Coach of the Year in the NBA in 76–77), followed by the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, retiring in 1985.
Nissalke holds the rare distinction of being named "Coach of the Year" in both the NBA and the ABA. He was also the commissioner of the short-lived National Basketball League in Canada in 1993–94. He had a combined coaching record of 371–508 (248–391 in NBA and 123–117 in ABA), with an 11–20 playoff record. He went 105–91 with the Chaparrals/Spurs, 13–32 with the Sonics, 18–26 with the Utah Stars, 124–122 with the Rockets, 60–124 with the Jazz, and 51–113 with the Cavaliers. He made it out of the first round of the playoffs just once, in 1977.
Nissalke's entrepreneurial activities included developing and owning several health clubs throughout Texas in addition to co-owning a successful bar and restaurant, Green Street in Salt Lake City, Utah for over twenty years.
After his coaching career, Nissalke took on revamping the YMCA of Utah and served as Chairman of the Board and later interim CEO. The YMCA had its most successful fundraising campaigns during his tenure.
Head coaching record
|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 %|
|Dallas*||1971–72||84||42||42||.500||3rd in Western||4||0||4||.000||Lost in Div. Semifinals|
|San Antonio*||1973–74||84||45||39||.536||3rd in Western||7||3||4||.429||Lost in Div. Semifinals|
|Utah*||1974–75||28||14||14||.500||4th in Western||6||2||4||.333||Lost in Div. Semifinals|
|Houston||1976–77||82||49||33||.598||1st in Central||12||6||6||.500||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|Houston||1977–78||82||28||54||.341||6th in Central||–||–||–||–||Missed Playoffs|
|Houston||1978–79||82||47||35||.573||2nd in Central||2||0||2||.000||Lost in First Round|
|Utah||1979–80||82||24||58||.293||5th in Midwest||–||–||–||–||Missed Playoffs|
|Utah||1980–81||82||28||54||.341||5th in Midwest||–||–||–||–||Missed Playoffs|
|Cleveland||1982–83||82||23||59||.280||5th in Central||–||–||–||–||Missed Playoffs|
|Cleveland||1983–84||82||28||54||.341||4th in Central||–||–||–||–||Missed Playoffs|
Family life and personal
Nissalke presently works as a radio pregame and halftime analyst and talk-show host for the Utah Jazz on 1320 KFAN. In January 2006, his wife of 46 years, Nancy, who also was a native of Madison, Wisconsin, died, succumbing to cancer. Together they had two children, son Thomas Jr., and daughter Holly, as well as two granddaughters Caroline Anne and Isabelle Grace.
|Utah Stars head coach