Jeff Van Gundy: Jeffrey William Van Gundy (born January 19, 1962) is an ESPN analyst and former basketball coach from the United States.
He was the head coach of the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks and Houston Rockets (NBA).
Jeff Van Gundy is a best player of the basketball
Van Gundy grew up in Martinez, California, and was born in Hemet, California.
His father, Bill Van Gundy, is a former head basketball coach at SUNY Brockport and Genesee Community College.
Stan, Jeff’s older brother, went on to coach the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA, as well as being the former head coach and director of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons.
Van Gundy was a two-time All-Greater Rochester pick as a high school point guard, leading Brockport Central to the Class AA championships in 1979 and 1980.
He resumed his basketball career at Nazareth College, where he was named All-American and led the Golden Flyers to the NCAA Division III Tournament in 1984.
With an 86.8% free throw percentage in his career, he is still the Nazareth career leader.
Van Gundy began his education at Yale University, where he was a classmate of Jodie Foster, before transferring to Menlo College and eventually graduating from Nazareth College in New York in 1985.
Jeff Van Gundy Coaching as a profession Career
Early on in your career
Van Gundy began his basketball coaching career at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, New York, during the 1985–86 season.
The next year, he worked as a graduate assistant at Providence College under head coach Rick Pitino, helping the Friars reach the Final Four.
He was elevated to assistant coach under Gordon Chiesa in his second season with the Friars. The next season, Van Gundy joined Bob Wenzel’s staff at Rutgers as an assistant coach.
Knicks of New York
Van Gundy joined the New York Knicks as an assistant coach on July 28, 1989. Stu Jackson (1989–1990), John MacLeod (1990–1991), Pat Riley (1991–1995), and Don Nelson (1995–1996) were the Knicks’ head coaches for the following six-and-a-half seasons.
The Knicks won three Atlantic Division titles, never finished lower than third in the division, and qualified for the playoffs every year throughout his time as an assistant coach.
In 1993, the Knicks got to the Eastern Conference Finals, and in 1994, they faced the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.
Van Gundy was appointed head coach of the New York Knicks on March 8, 1996, succeeding Don Nelson.
In his second game as head coach, he led the Knicks to a 32–point thrashing of the Chicago Bulls, who had eliminated the Knicks from the playoffs four times since 1989.
In the postseason, however, Van Gundy was unable to reverse the trend, as the Knicks were defeated by Chicago in the conference semifinals.
With a 57–25 record in his first full season as head coach, the Knicks tied for third best in franchise history.
In the regular-season finale, the Knicks defeated the Chicago Bulls 69–12 in Chicago, keeping them from winning two straight 70-win seasons and tying the best home record in NBA history.
In the 1998 NBA Playoffs series between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat, Van Gundy created an unforgettable scenario.
Van Gundy tried unsuccessfully to break up a bench-clearing altercation between the Heat’s 6’10” (2.08 m), 240 lb. (109 kg) centre Alonzo Mourning and the Knicks’ 6’7″ (2.01 m), 250 lb. (113 kg) power forward Larry Johnson.
Van Gundy, who stood 5’9″ (1.75 m) and weighed 165 lb. (75 kg), tumbled to the floor and clutched to Mourning’s leg. The altercation resulted in suspensions, but the Knicks won the series 3-2 and advanced to the Eastern Conference semi-finals to face the Indiana Pacers.
The Knicks suffered with injuries (particularly to all-star Patrick Ewing) during the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, finishing 27–23 and earning the eighth seed in the playoffs (they had to win six of its remaining eight games just to qualify).
The Knicks defied expectations by defeating the Heat in five games in the first round of the playoffs, avenging a previous season’s playoff setback and becoming only the second 8th seed to overcome a number one seed in the playoffs.
The Knicks went on an incredible run after the triumph, sweeping the Hawks in the semifinals and defeating the Pacers in six games to reach the NBA Finals.
They were no match for the Spurs in the Finals without Ewing, losing the series in five games. The Knicks were the first eighth-seeded club to reach the NBA Finals in franchise history.
Following their Finals appearance, the Knicks had a 50–32 season and advanced to the Conference Finals, where they were defeated by the Indiana Pacers. This was the last time the Knicks won a playoff series until the 2013 playoffs.
Danny Ferry elbowed Marcus Camby during a Spurs-Knicks game in 2001. Camby lost control when speaking with the referee and attempted to punch Ferry.
Camby missed and instead hit Van Gundy, who indicated he had learnt his lesson about trying to break up player conflicts. The Knicks finished with a 48–34 record, although they were eliminated in the first round by the Raptors.
Van Gundy resigned as the Knicks’ head coach after 19 games into the 2001–02 season.
The decision was surprising because the Knicks were on a winning streak and had just defeated the Milwaukee Bucks by 14 points.
The Houston Rockets are a professional basketball team based in Van Gundy was hired head coach of the Houston Rockets on June 10, 2003, succeeding Rudy Tomjanovich.
The Rockets finished with a 45–37 record in his first season as head coach, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in five years, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Van Gundy led the Rockets to a 51–31 record in his second season with the franchise, which was their first season with more than 50 victories in eight years, thanks to the Yao Ming/Tracy McGrady tandem.
The Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round once again, this time to the Dallas Mavericks.
In the 2005–06 season, McGrady and Yao missed a combined 70 games due to injuries, and Van Gundy missed the playoffs for the first time in his NBA head coaching career.
The NBA fined Van Gundy $100,000 in May 2005 after he accused referees of targeting Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was accused by Van Gundy for the referees’ perceived bias. This is the biggest fine ever levied on an NBA coach.
The Rockets’ ailments and disappointments continued into the following season, with Yao being limited to only 48 games and McGrady still recovering from his injuries.
The Rockets had a late-season run, thanks to a comeback by McGrady, but another first-round playoff loss, this time to the Utah Jazz, cemented Van Gundy’s fate as head coach.
Van Gundy was sacked after the team’s crucial Game 7 loss in the first round of the playoffs, and Rick Adelman was hired in his place.
Career in the national team
Van Gundy was named head coach of the senior United States men’s national basketball team in July 2017, ahead of the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup tournament and the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers in China.
Should the USA qualify for either the World Cup or the 2020 Summer Olympics, head coach Gregg Popovich would return to lead the squad. Van Gundy’s first coaching position since leaving the Rockets in 2007 was with Team USA.
Van Gundy went on to lead the United States to a gold medal in the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup and a berth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Jeff Van Gundy is a career in broadcasting
Van Gundy was a guest analyst for ESPN’s broadcast of the Phoenix Suns-San Antonio Spurs game in San Antonio, Texas, following his firing from the Houston Rockets in 2007. He has since been a regular broadcast member for ESPN.
As a colour commentator with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and Mark Jackson, he currently calls numerous basketball games, including the NBA Finals.
Outside of basketball, there’s life.
Jeff Van Gundy serves on the executive board of Pro-Vision Academy, a Houston-based charter school and non-profit that provides educational, job-training, and mentorship programmes to boys and girls aged 10 to 18.
Stan Van Gundy is Van Gundy’s older brother.
During Nazareth College’s 84th Annual Commencement Ceremony on May 8, 2011, Van Gundy received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma institution.