Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reached another milestone in his stellar career Tuesday night, taking sole possession of fifth place on the NBA's list of career coaching victories with the Spurs' 100-91 road win over the New York Knicks.
Popovich, who turns 69 on Jan. 28, now has 1,176 victories, all with the Spurs. He went into Tuesday night's game tied with George Karl, a former Spurs player and assistant coach, for No. 5 on the list for career coaching wins.
Don Nelson is the all-time leader in career coaching victories with 1,335, followed by Lenny Wilkins (1,332), Jerry Sloan (1,221) and Pat Riley (1,210).
Not surprisingly, Popovich downplayed the coaching milestone.
"I don't remember scoring any points or getting any rebounds," he told the media after the game. "It doesn't mean anything, except that I've had good players, and I've coached for eons."
Popovich was 47 when he fired Bob Hill and appointed himself head coach of the Spurs 18 games into the 1996-97 season. He was also the franchise's executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager then.
Twenty-one years later, Popovich ranks among the top coaches in NBA history. He has guided the Silver and Black to five league championships since 1999, and together with team general manager R.C. Buford, has built a franchise synonymous with consistency the past two decades.
Popovich, in his 22nd season as San Antonio's head coach, is 1,176-518 in 1,694 regular-season games. No other coach in NBA history has won more games with one franchise than Popovich. He also has 166 playoff wins, ranking him third behind Phil Jackson and Riley in league history.
Popovich has been named NBA Coach of the Year three times (2003, 2012, 2014).
Known simply as "Pop" around the NBA, Popovich is the longest tenured coach with the same team among the 122 NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB franchises.
The Spurs have made the playoffs for 20 consecutive seasons, and own the NBA record for the longest streak of winning seasons (20). They also have won at least 50 games for 18 consecutive seasons, another league record.
The Silver and Black's 100-91 win over the Knicks on Tuesday pushed their record to 26-12. They play at Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Tipoff is at 6.
Most coaching victories in NBA history
1. Don Nelson (1,335)
2. Lenny Wilkins (1,332)
3. Jerry Sloan (1,221)
4. Pat Riley (1,210)
5. Gregg Popovich (1,176)
6. George Karl (1,175)
7. Phil Jackson (1,155)
8. Larry Brown (1,098)
9. Rick Adelman (1,042)
10. Bill Fitch (944)
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