The Atlanta Hawks made it official Tuesday — Mike Budenholzer has been named the 12th full-time head coach in franchise history.
Budenholzer is currently the top assistant coach with the Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs. Per the Atlanta Hawks website, Budenholzer will continue his work with the Spurs throughout the upcoming NBA Finals, which begin on June 6.
Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry, in an e-mail to season ticket holders, stressed the five “most important characteristics” that will define the Atlanta Hawks going forward under Mike Budenholzer:
1. Competitiveness: a team that is competitive every single moment of every practice and every game, that is the only way to generate day-to-day improvement
2. Good Communication: every player will understand the system, their role, and their responsibilities and with that will come essential accountability
3. Sacrifice: players that are willing to give up the greater good of individual for the greater good of the group, a critical component in reaching your potential as a team
4. Caring: a team of players and people within the organization that understands he genuinely cares about them; a trait of utmost importance, as he believes and has seen, that with such understanding, you have the best opportunity for people to want to work towards your common goal
5. Community: ensuring that our players do not just understand the importance of our community but are fully engaged in creating positive change within our community
“We are thrilled to have Mike as the next coach of the Atlanta Hawks. He has an incredible basketball acumen and has a keen awareness of the league and what it takes to be successful,” Ferry said. “His experience and four championships over the last 17 years provide a tremendous foundation for his leadership of our team.”
Since the Hawks season ended with a first round loss to the Indiana Pacers, little was known or reported about likely replacements for former Hawks coach Larry Drew. Earlier last week, however, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that many NBA insiders considered Budenholzer to be Ferry’s coach of choice. Tuesday, those people within the league were proven correct.
Budenholzer was part of four NBA titles with the Spurs in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007. He has been in San Antonio for the past 19 years, since the arrival of current Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“I have been extremely fortunate to be a part of the San Antonio Spurs organization for the last 19 years,” said Budenholzer. I knew it would have to be a tremendous situation for me to leave and clearly coming to Atlanta as the head coach of the Hawks is perfect for me. Ownership’s commitment to taking this organization to the next level and creating a unique and special culture, partnering with a general manager like Danny Ferry who I have great respect for, and building a roster that has terrific potential because of the existing core and the ensuing flexibility presents a rare and uniquely positive opportunity.”
The Hawks will hold a press conference to introduce Mike Budenholzer as the new head coach on Wednesday.