Suns Name New Head Coach

The Phoenix Suns have named Mike Budenholzer, an NBA championship head coach and two-time recipient of both the NBA Coach of the Year and NBCA Coach of the Year awards, as head coach.

“We’re excited to name Mike as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns and bring him back to his home state of Arizona,” said Mat Ishbia, owner of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. “Mike has proven himself to be among the most successful head coaches in the NBA. He is the right leader to take us to the next level and reach our championship goals.”

Budenholzer, an Arizona native, joins the Suns with a .604 (484-317) career winning percentage in 10 seasons as an NBA head coach. He is one of just five NBA head coaches in the last 45 years to have won an NBA championship and hold a career winning percentage over .600 along with Phil Jackson, Steve Kerr, Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich. In his 10 seasons as a head coach, Budenholzer has guided his teams to six division titles and earned a No. 1 seed in the playoffs four times, winning NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2015 and 2019 while his peers recognized him as the NBCA Coach of the Year in 2019 and 2020. He is one of just 11 coaches in NBA history to have won NBA Coach of the Year multiple times.

“Mike’s exceptional basketball acumen, championship pedigree and his standing as one of the NBA’s premier coaches will be invaluable as we compete for a championship,” said President of Basketball Operations and General Manager James Jones. “We’re confident that under his leadership our team will reach new levels of success.”

Named the 22nd head coach in Suns history, Budenholzer spent five seasons each as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks (2013-18) and Milwaukee Bucks (2018-23), guiding the Hawks to a franchise record 60 wins in 2014-15 and leading the Bucks past the Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals. Budenholzer has led his teams to the playoffs in nine of his 10 seasons as a head coach, reaching the Conference Semifinals six times and the Conference Finals on three occasions. His .538 winning percentage over 104 career playoff games is 11th-best in NBA history among coaches with over 100 career playoff games.

“I am honored to be named head coach of the Phoenix Suns, the team I grew up watching,” said Budenholzer. “I would like to thank Mat Ishbia, Josh Bartelstein and James Jones for the opportunity to lead this team. I’m grateful to have a talented roster of players who are ready to compete and play a style of basketball that will bring out the best in all of them, and bring them together as we compete for championships.”

Prior to his first NBA head coaching position with Atlanta in 2013, Budenholzer spent 17 seasons as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs on Popovich’s staff. He helped the Spurs win four NBA championships during his time as an assistant coach. A graduate of Pomona College, where he played both basketball and golf, Budenholzer played and coached in Denmark before first joining the Spurs as a video coordinator in 1994.

From Holbrook, Arizona, Budenholzer’s father, Vince Budenholzer, long served as the head coach of the Holbrook High School boys basketball team and is a member of the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame. The court at Holbrook High School is named Budenholzer Court in dedication to the Budenholzer family.

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