CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In a search that began March 8th, 2012; The Bobcats have finally narrowed down their list of candidates to one. Mike Dunlap, formerly the assistant coach at St. John's University, is now the Head Coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. This is Dunlap's first Head Coaching gig.
Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins made the announcement today at a press conference with Dunlap.
The team initially drafted up a list of 40 candidates, interviewed 10, and narrowed it down to 3 finalists. Quinn Snyder, Brian Shaw and Jerry Sloan. When Sloan pulled himself out of the mix, that opened the door for Dunlap.
Bobcat's General Manager Rich Choc, says Dunlap's most notable characteristics are his emphasis on Player Development, ability to teach, and willingness to set a new culture for the Bobcats.
Dunlap feels his method will emulate the 'Michael Jordan' brand, saying that he'll emphasize work ethic, aggressiveness and attack-style basketball.
Dunlap, who was an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets from 2006-08 and spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at St. John's University, becomes the fifth head coach in franchise history.
"Mike Dunlap embodies the characteristics we were seeking in a head coach," said Higgins. "He is renowned in basketball circles as a teacher, developer of talent, communicator and collaborator. His energy and work ethic are endless, and we are excited to have him in charge of our team."
Dunlap brings 32 years of coaching experience to the Bobcats, including 14 as a college head coach. He spent nine seasons as the head coach at Metropolitan State College in Denver, leading his teams to a pair of Division II National Championships in 2000 and 2002 and earning NABC Division II Coach of the Year honors in both of those seasons.
Dunlap, whose teams went to the NCAA Tournament in each of his nine seasons, posted an overall record of 248-50 (.832), winning five Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles.
In 2006, Dunlap left Metro State to become an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets under George Karl. In two seasons with the Nuggets, he helped the team to a 95-69 record that included a 50-win season in 2007-08 that was the team's first in 23 years.
Dunlap then spent the 2008-09 season as associate head coach at the University of Arizona under legendary coach Lute Olson and the 2009-10 season as associate head coach on Ernie Kent's staff at the University of Oregon before joining Steve Lavin at St. John's in 2010.
During the 2011-12 season, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the team and served as acting head coach in all but four games while Lavin recovered from surgery to treat prostate cancer.
Dunlap's previous head coaching experience also includes three seasons with the Adelaide 36ers in Australia's National Basketball League and five seasons at California Lutheran University. From 1994-97, he led the 36ers to a 59-33 record (.641) and three straight appearances in the NBL Final Four, including advancing to the Grand Final game in 1995.
Before going to Australia, Dunlap was head coach at Division III California Lutheran from 1989-94, where his teams posted an 80-54 record (.597) and won three straight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles from 1992-94, while also advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1992 and 1994. His college coaching experience also includes five seasons at his alma mater, Loyola Marymount University (1980-85), one season at the University of Iowa (1985-86) and three seasons at the University of Southern California (1986-89).