5 Longest coaching stints in NBA history
The NBA has been the happy hunting ground of choice for some of the most intelligent basketball minds over the years. While it is a star-driven league, it is next to impossible for any player to win a championship without playing under a supremely talented and cerebral head coachI'm still shaken by how Tyronn Lue has an NBA championship while Mike D'Antoni doesn't, but that's a conversation for another day.
This is a compilation of the coaches who served with a single franchise for the longest stints. While the likes of Pat Riley, Phil Jackson and Larry Brown have had longer coaching careers than the ones we list here, they did not have a single tenure at a franchise longer than those who make our list.
Without further ado, we count down to the coaches with the longest coaching stints in the league.
#5 Red Holzmann (10 years)
The last time that Knicks fans knew what NBA championship success felt like was back in the '70s under Red Holzmann. The former Rochester Royals point guard was moved into the head coaching role at Madison Square Garden in the year 1967 after serving the franchise as a scout for the 10 years prior to that.
In his first season in charge, Holzmann led the Knicks to the playoffs with a 43-39 record and a third place finish in the Eastern division standings. They lost to the 76ers in the first round of the playoffs that year. They improved to 54-28 the next year and progressed to the Division Finals, losing 4-2 to eventual champions Boston Celtics.
The 1969-70 NBA season was possibly the best of the Knicks' 71-year history. They went on an 18-game winning streak and clinched first place in the Eastern Division standings with an NBA-best 60-22 record. They beat the Baltimore Bullets and the Bucks en route to one of the classic NBA Finals series against the Los Angeles Lakers, which they won in 7 games as Holzmann was voted as the coach of the year.
The Knicks regressed to a 52-30 record the following season. While they still made it out of the Eastern Division, they got swept in the Finals by Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Oscar Robertson's Milwaukee Bucks. They made it to the Finals again next season despite finishing 48-34 and second in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference but got beat once more - this time at the hands of Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain's Lakers team.
They reversed the scores to 4-1 in the 1973 Finals in a repeat of the 72 Finals against the Lakers. The subsequent years saw the Knicks' dynasty fading away with a couple of losing seasons as their stars got older and moved to other franchises, and Holzmann left the reigns in 1977. Holzmann has since been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.