Who knew back in 1992 when Stu Jackson, head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers at the time, brought in Stan Van Gundy as an assistant that 22 years later Van Gundy would land his third gig as a head coach of an NBA team?
On Wednesday that’s exactly what happened as Van Gundy was hired by the Detroit Pistons to not only be the head coach, but also the president of basketball operations. Details of the contract were not released, but ESPN.com reports it is a 5-year deal worth around $35 million.
Not bad for a guy who has been out of coaching for two years.
Van Gundy’s first go-round in the NBA was with the Miami Heat, where he spent two-plus seasons in South Beach. With Van Gundy at the helm, the Heat went 112-73 and advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Pistons. Midway through the 2005 season, Van Gundy resigned from the Heat.
And that leads us to his second stint in the NBA, this time with the Orlando Magic from 2007-2012. Van Gundy’s time in Orlando culminated in the 2008-09 season when he led the Magic to the NBA Finals, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. After the 2012 season, Van Gundy was relieved of his duties as coach of the Magic.
But before his time in the NBA, Stan the Man spent three seasons in Madison. From 1992-94, Van Gundy was an assistant under then coach Stu Jackson. But in 1994 Van Gundy was promoted to head coach after Jackson left for the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies.
During his one year as head coach, Van Gundy and the Badgers went 13-14 (7-11 in the Big Ten, good enough for ninth place). Stan was no longer the Man in Madison as he was fired after the 1994-95 season.
Good luck to Stan Van Gundy as he embarks on a new chapter in his life. Coaching in the Association and overseeing the day-to-day basketball operations can be hell on a guy. Here’s hoping Stan the Man can make the most of it and have a successful tenure in Detroit.