The pipeline that Steve Lavin has created from St. John’s to the NBA is not for players only.
Assistant coach Mike Dunlap has been named as the next head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats — his first head coaching job at the Division I or NBA level.
Dunlap, 54, took over Red Storm coaching duties this past season as Lavin was recovering from surgery. He led the team to an 11-19 record while at the helm of a team that played almost exclusively freshmen.
“The Johnnies basketball family is ecstatic for Coach Dunlap’s opportunity. Mike’s selection as the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach is a well-deserved honor,” Lavin said in a statement. “ To make the unprecedented jump from college assistant to NBA head coach is testament to both Mike’s abilities as a teacher and our basketball program’s marked improvement over the past 27 months.”
Dunlap was reportedly not on the Bobcats shortlist — which included Jerry Sloan, Indiana assistant Brian Shaw and Lakers assistant Quin Snyder — for the opening, but was offered the job Monday night.
Prior to joining the Johnnies, Dunlap was associate head coach with the Oregon Ducks and Arizona Wildcats.
The new Bobcats coach also has NBA coaching experience. Dunlap spent two seasons as a coach on George Karl’s staff with the Denver Nuggets.
Moe Harkless, another former Red Storm who will shortly join Dunlap in the NBA, tweeted, “Dunlap, a great coach, better person. Strong passion and is dedicated to the game more than any coach I’ve had. No doubt he’ll be successful.”
The Bobcats last season set the record for NBA futility finishing 7-59, the worst winning percentage in NBA history.