Journal Sentinel: Bucks' Interim Head Coach Joe Prunty -- Experience, Titles, MVP's, ROY's
BY LORI NICKEL, JOURNAL SENTINEL
Here are 10 things to know about Joe Prunty, the new interim coach for the Milwaukee Bucks following the firing of Jason Kidd Monday.
1. Popovich tree: He’s another coach from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree. He got his start in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs as a video coordinator before becoming an advance scout and assistant coach for nine seasons, beginning in 1996. He was with the Spurs when they won league titles in 1999, 2003 and 2005 and worked with two league MVPs — Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.
"I tried to learn as much as I could, and that's where Pop was phenomenal for me and so many of us," Prunty told the Journal Sentinel in 2016. "I know the benefit for me was tremendous. I'm not even sure what the exact words would be to say how valuable it was. There are a lot of good people I've been able to be around, and it started there."
2. Start in high school coaching: Before that, Prunty was coaching at the high school level in San Diego 21 years ago and first made connections with the Spurs through former University of San Diego coach Hank Egan. When Egan got a job with the Spurs he let Prunty know a position might be available with San Antonio. The job actually was assistant video coordinator, and Prunty left briefly for a college position before coming back to the Spurs as video coordinator.
3. Coached a Cubs pitcher: Prunty began coaching in 1992 at the University of San Diego High School and then St. Augustine High School. While in San Diego, he coached former NBA player and current Lakers coach Luke Walton and former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior.
4. California kid: Prunty will turn 49 years old on Feb. 12. He was born in Sunnyvale, Calif., and graduated from Fremont High School. He played collegiately at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif. and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from California Poly San Luis Obispo in 1991. He and wife, Laura, were married in the summer of 2002 and have a son, Luke, and a daughter, Emma.
5. Third stint as Bucks interim coach: This is Prunty's fourth season with the Bucks, hired by Kidd before the 2014-’15 season, and Monday started his third stint as interim head coach.
He last filled in as head coach in November when Kidd’s wife gave birth to a daughter. The Bucks lost that game to the Washington Wizards at home.
Prunty served as interim coach for 17 games in 2015-’16, when Kidd was out after hip surgery. The Bucks were 8-9 during that time.
Prunty also coached the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 while Kidd was suspended two games for a DUI.
6. Longtime assistant: Overall, this is Prunty’s 22nd season in the NBA. In addition to his time in San Antonio, he was an assistant coach in Dallas (2005-'08 under Avery Johnson), Portland (2008-'10 under Nate McMillan), Cleveland (2010-'13 under Bryron Scott) and Brooklyn (2013-'14 under Kidd) before following Kidd to Milwaukee.
7. Olympic coach: Prunty was named head coach of the Great Britain national team in 2013, a position he held until September of 2017. The country did not qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
"I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly," said Prunty in 2015, “but it's constant development and it's constant communication. We've had some unique challenges. It has helped me tremendously as a coach."
8. Camps around the world: Prunty has worked at NBA Basketball Without Borders camps in Turkey, development camps in Indonesia and NBA Fit Camps in China.
9. Beer man: His first job in San Diego was with Anheuser-Busch until he realized he wanted to coach.
10. Coached Kidd: Kidd hired Prunty as an assistant after first playing for him in Dallas.
“Respect of his work ethic,” was the reason, Kidd told Doug Russell at 620 WTMJ Radio in 2015. “He’s well-respected in this league and I thought he’d be a big part of our staff.”