Arizona Basketball

Steve Kerr first Arizona Wildcats player to become NBA head coach


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Steve Kerr is Arizona's first NBA head coach

Steve Kerr is Arizona’s first NBA head coach

Arizona Wildcats legendary player Steve Kerr will be the third elite point guard from the Lute Olson era to be a head coach when he coaches the Golden State Warriors next year.

Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Kerr spurned overtures from New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Warriors on Wednesday.

Kerr, the first former Arizona player to become a head coach in the NBA, joins Reggie Geary (Japan pro league) and Jason Gardner (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) as Wildcat point guard standouts who are now head coaches. Another, Damon Stoudamire, is reportedly a front-runner for the Oregon State job.

Another point guard, Jason Terry, who is near retirement after 15 seasons in the NBA, has mentioned that he will coach after his playing career.

The other two coaches who are former Wildcats — Craig McMillan and Josh Pastner — also played at the guard position for Olson. McMillan (head coach at Santa Rosa, Calif., Junior College) was a shooting guard and Pastner (University of Memphis) a reserve point guard.


Kerr’s hiring by Golden State also gives Arizona two leaders of a major professional organization. Former Arizona baseball All-American Terry Francona manages the Cleveland Indians.

Kerr became a prime candidate for the Golden State position after the Warriors’ brass did not renew Mark Jackson’s contract. Kerr has strong relationships with Warriors owner Joe Lacob, son Kirk Lacob (who works in Golden State’s front office) and Warriors president Rick Welts, with whom Kerr worked closely in Phoenix.

Kerr’s decision to coach Golden State instead of the Knicks makes sense inasmuch as he can stay close to his San Diego home, and his daughter Maddie Kerr is a volleyball player at Cal.

Former Arizona forward Andre Iguodala signed a four-year, $48 million dollar contract with Golden State before last season. Stephen Curry’s contract also runs through the 2016-17 season. Klay Thompson will become a free agent after next season.


— Three-point field goal season and career record percentage of 57.3 in 1987-88

— School-record 50 minutes played at Cal on Jan. 12, 1986

— School-record 38.4 minutes a game in the 1984-85 season

— No. 19 Arizona career scoring list with 1,445 points

— 1987-88 USBWA Most Courageous Athlete

— Two-time All-Pac-10 selection

— 2003 Pac-12 Hall of Honor inductee 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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