Arizona Basketball

Kerr’s potential hire with Knicks can give Arizona Wildcats two leaders in major pro sports

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Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr

Terry Francona

Terry Francona

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The potential hire of Steve Kerr by the New York Knicks as their head coach would give the Arizona Wildcats two leaders of major pro teams and their first NBA coach.

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is the other former Wildcat athlete leading a pro franchise.

Arizona has never had a former player coach an NBA or NFL team. Francona and former Arizona player Brad Mills have managed at the major-league level.

A few former Wildcats are assistant coaches in the NFL, including Chuck Cecil (St. Louis defensive coordinator), David Fipp (Philadelphia special teams coordinator) and Brant Boyer (Indianapolis assistant special teams coach).

The following tabulation of coaches and managers in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, indicates where they competed in college.


California has the most former athletes as pro sports coaches or managers with four — Jason Kidd of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, Ron Rivera of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, Bryan Price (Cincinnati Reds skipper) and Bob Melvin (Oakland A’s manager).

If Kerr is hired by the Knicks, Arizona would become the eighth school to currently have at least two former players as a coach or manager at the highest level.

School NBA MLB NFL Total
Air Force Greg Popovich/San Antonio 1
Akron John Loyer/Detroit 1
ARIZONA Terry Francona/Cleveland 1
Baker Mike McCarthy/Green Bay 1
Boston University Brett Brown/Philadelphia 1
Brigham Young Andy Reid/Kansas City 1
Brown Bill O'Brien/Houston 1
California Jason Kidd/Brooklyn Bryan Price/Cincinnati Ron Rivera/Carolina 4
Bob Melvin/Oakland
Cal-Irvine Scott Brooks/Oklahoma City 1
Cal-Santa Barbara Brian Shaw/Denver 1
DePauw Brad Stevens/Boston 1
Eastern Illinois Sean Payton/New Orleans 1
Eastern Michigan Terry Collins/N.Y. Mets 1
East Tennessee State Mike Smith/Atlanta 1
Georgia Tech Ken Whisenhunt/Tennessee 1
Gonzaga Mike Redmond/Miami 1
Idaho State Marvin Lewis/Cincinnati 1
Illinois State Mike Zimmer/Minnesota 1
Indiana Randy Wittman/Washington 1
Iowa Bo Porter/Houston Jim Caldwell/Detroit 2
Iowa State Jeff Hornacek/Phoenix 1
Juniata College Frank Vogel/Indiana 1
Kansas Jacque Vaughn/Orlando 1
Kentucky Dwayne Casey/Toronto 1
Lafayette Joe Maddon/Tampa Bay 1
Louisville Jay Gruden/Washington 1
Loyola (Md.) Michael Malone/Sacramento 1
Maine-Farmington Steve Clifford/Charlotte 1
Marquette Doc Rivers/L.A. Clippers 1
Marshall Mike D'Antoni/L.A. Lakers 1
Miami (Ohio) John Harbaugh/Baltimore 1
Michigan Mike Matheny/St. Louis Jim Harbaugh/San Francisco 2
Michigan State Kirk Gibson/Arizona 1
Minnesota Kevin McHale/Houston 1
Minnesota State-Moorhead Marc Trestman/Chicago 1
Missouri Larry Drew/Milwaukee 1
Mississippi State Buck Showalter/Baltimore 1
Moorhead State David Joerger/Memphis 1
Nevada-Las Vegas Matt Williams/Washington 1
New Hampshire Chip Kelly/Philadelphia 1
North Carolina Walt Weiss/Colorado 1
North Dakota State Gus Bradley/Jacksonville 1
Northwestern Joe Girardi/N.Y. Yankees 1
Notre Dame Monty Williams/New Orleans 1
Oklahoma Terry Stotts/Portland 1
Oklahoma State John Farrell/Boston 2
Robin Ventura/Chicago White Sox
Pacific Pete Carroll/Seattle 1
Pomona College Mike Budenholzer/Atlanta 1
Portland Erik Spoelstra/Miami 1
Princeton Jason Garrett/Dallas 1
St. John's Mark Jackson/Golden State 1
Salem State Tom Thibodeau/Chicago 1
San Diego Mike Brown/Cleveland 1
San Diego State Bud Black/San Diego John Fox/Denver 2
Southwestern Oklahoma State Rex Ryan/N.Y. Jets 1
Syracuse Doug Marrone/Buffalo 2
Tom Coughlin/N.Y. Gianta
Texas Ron Gardenhire/Minnesota 1
Texas A&M Dennis Allen/Oakland 1
Tulsa Lovie Smith/Tampa Bay 1
UCLA Ron Roenicke/Milwaukee 1
USC Jeff Fisher/St. Louis 1
Utah Mike McCoy/San Diego 1
Valparaiso Lloyd McClendon/Detroit 1
Virginia Rick Carlisle/Dallas Mike Pettine/Cleveland 2
Virginia Tech Bruce Arians/Arizona 1
Wesleyan Bill Belichek/New England 1
William & Jefferson Joe Philbin/Miami 1
William & Mary Mike Tomlin/Pittsburgh 1
Wyoming Chuck Pagano/Indianapolis 1

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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