Since becoming head coach in the 1996-1997 season, Gregg Popovich has not only transformed the San Antonio Spurs, but the entire sport of NBA basketball. Among his many impressive achievements, he now has a new one to add to his legacy. He just set the record for regular season wins by a head coach.
Gregg Popovich Now Holds the Record for Regular Season Wins
Popovich set the record on Friday, March 11th. On that day, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz,104-102. The Utah Jazz were leading by 15 points when the clock had 10 minutes left. In an extraordinary turnaround, the Spurs came out ahead. The Utah Jazz fought them all the way. It was Dejounte Murray who secured the final point through a free throw, having scored 27 points during those intense closing minutes of the game. Immediately after the game ended with a spurs victory, Murray went to hug Popovich.
The game marked Popovich’s 1,336th win since becoming a head coach in the NBA. He now has more wins than Don Nelson, who held the record before with 1,335 wins. Speaking about his achievement, Popovich said, “Something like this does not belong to one individual. Basketball’s a team sport. You preach to your players that they have to do it together and that’s certainly been the case in my life with all the wonderful players and coaches, the staff that I’ve been blessed with, the support of this wonderful city. The fans support us no matter what. All of us share in this record. It’s not mine. It’s ours, here in the city.”
Upon his success, Nelson congratulated Popovich for beating his record. In his video to Pop, he stated, “I couldn’t wait for this day to happen and I just want you to know that as one of my best friends in life I just wish you the best for your remaining years in the NBA.”
Nearing the End of a Historic Career
Popovich has now been coaching the Spurs for 26 seasons. In all, he has coached 2,030 games. That is the longest any NBA coach has served. He is 73 years old. Given his age, there have been rumors regarding his likely upcoming retirement for some time now. The latest rumor suggests that after he departs, his replacement could be none other than Quin Snyder, who currently is head coach for the Utah Jazz.
Whatever comes to pass, Popovich’s legacy will live on long after he departs the role of Spurs head coach. He will leave big shoes to fill for whomever his successor turns out to be. We will keep you posted on any rumors or updates about Pop’s career and the future of the head coaching position in San Antonio.