This past week, it was revealed that San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan was stepping down from his assistant coach position with the team. Duncan had been in that role for the past season, which included him taking over for an absent Gregg Popovich and getting a win. Since the Duncan announcement, the Spurs have found a replacement, while also promoting another member of their staff.
San Antonio Spurs Find Duncan’s Replacement for the Coaching Staff
The San Antonio Spurs didn’t need to look very far to find someone to replace Tim Duncan. According to the NY Times’ Marc J. Spears, they’ve opted to give Duncan’s spot to Mitch Johnson. It’s a promotion for Johnson, who was already part of the Spurs’ staff. He was also new to the coaching staff this past season, so the next NBA campaign will officially mark his second with the Spurs.
Ahead of joining the NBA team on the sidelines, Johnson was an assistant coach with the Spurs G-League team, the Austin Spurs. He was part of the staff for three years and helped coach them to the 2018 NBA G League Championship.
As previously reported, Duncan wasn’t expected to be a long-term assistant on Popovich’s staff, and the decision for him to step down, or away from that role, wasn’t a surprise. He served in the assistant coaching role for just the past season and might continue to visit the practice facility during team workouts.
Darius Songalia Also Receives Promotion
With Mitch Johnson taking over Duncan’s spot, the San Antonio Spurs also promoted player development assistant Darius Songalia. He’ll now become an assistant coach as well, helping out Gregg Popovich and company on the sidelines.
Songalia brings experience as a player in the league with a career that spanned from 2003 through 2011. During his time in the NBA, he played for the Kings, Bulls, Wizards, Hornets, and 76ers.
Songalia averaged his best numbers in his 2005-06 with Chicago, with 9.2 points, four rebounds, and 1.4 assists a game. For his career, he had averages of 6.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game.
As SpursTalk mentioned in our report about Tim Duncan stepping down, assistants Becky Hammons and Will Hardy will both remain on the coaching staff. Both Hammons and Hardy had their names mentioned in the rumor mills surrounding other NBA teams with head coaching vacancies. However, neither was selected, although both seem prime candidates for future jobs as head coaches.
Gregg Popovich is about to go into his 25th year as head coach of the team. Pop continues to be the NBA coach with the longest tenure in the league, but will face continued challenges as the team may be making trades for a rebuild. Visit our Spurs news page to see more player and team updates.