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Looking back at Pop’s opposing head coaches- Hornets edition

Only eight coaches...but some repeat performances

Charlotte Hornets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

As mentioned previously, an article entitled “Pop’s Incredible Longevity” revealed that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has coached against 307 different NBA coaches during his twenty-eight year tenure at the helm.

Since the firing of Bob Hill in 1996, Pop has consistently coached the Spurs, give or take an ejection or two. Tonight the Spurs play the Charlotte Hornets.

When Pop took over, Dave Cowens (1996-1999) was serving in his first season in Charlotte. The two previous years, Cowens had been an assistant here in San Antonio. The two would face off again when Cowens was in Golden State.

Cowens did not complete his third season. He was replaced by Paul Silas (1999-2002) who would face off against Pop in some form or another until 2012. Silas tenure closed out Charlotte’s first run in the NBA.

In 2004, Charlotte re-emerged as the Bobcats (the Hornets had moved to New Orleans), and Bernie Bickerstaff (2004-2007), who had already seen Pop numerous times during his time in Denver and Washington, became the first coach of the new franchise. These three seasons would be his last and an NBA coach. Although the Bobcats record improved yearly under Bickerstaff. they suffered terrible seasons and couldn’t break even.

Sam Vincent (2007-2008) took over next, but his 32-50 record limited his time in Charlotte to that lone season.

Pop’s mentor and friend Larry Brown took over from 2008 to December of 2010 when his 9-19 start led to him and his entire coaching staff being fired. Paul Silas took over for Brown and stayed through 2011-2012 shortened lockout season. His 7-59 underscored the writing on the wall.

Mike Dunlop’s lone NBA head coaching season (2012-2013) took place in Charlotte and resulted in a 21-61 record.

Steve Clifford (2013-2018) became Charlotte’s longest-tenured coach since Allan Bristow. Clifford was there when Charlotte were rechristened the Hornets (New Orleans became the Pelicans). The team made the playoffs twice during Clifford’s run.

Former Spurs assistant coach James Borrego took over from 2018-2022. His four seasons resulted in only one winning season and no playoff runs. He was fired at the end of 2022.

Steve Clifford returned in 2022 and has been with the team ever since. The Hornets are currently plagued with injury, missing LaMelo Ball has been out with an ankle injury since last month. Gordona Hayward, Cody martin, and P. J. Washington has all been missing recently.

Spurs and Hornets meet tonight in San Antonio and next Friday in Charlotte.

Go Spurs Go!


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