No one saw this coming.
The new head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats is … St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap.
Dunlap edged out Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant and ex-Missouri head coach Quin Snyder, CBSSports.com has confirmed. The news was first reported by The Charlotte Observer.
Dunlap is considered one of the brightest minds in basketball. Period. It appeared as though he committed career suicide a few years ago when he turned down the opportunity to become the interim coach at Arizona following Lute Olson's health issues. Russ Pennell took the interim tag, but it was Dunlap who assumed most of the actual on-court coaching duties.
Dunlap is a proven head coach from his days at Division II Metro State, where he won a pair of national titles. He was also an assistant for two seasons in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets. Talk to just about anyone in the business -- and they rave about Dunlap's knowledge of the game and his ability to convey that knowledge to young players.
Most recently, Dunlap was an assistant under Steve Lavin at St. John's -- where he filled in as the head coach while Lavin was recuperating from cancer.
Dunlap was in the mix for several D-1 head coaching jobs over the last few years, but his quirky personality stood in the way from him landing anything, according to several sources.
This is clearly a risk on the part of Charlotte owner Michael Jordan, but Dunlap can coach. I sat directly behind the bench for several Arizona games when Dunlap and Pennell were co-head coaches. It was clear -- and again, just about everyone shares the same opinion.
But that Arizona team had a couple NBA players.
That may be as many as the Charlotte Bobcats boast these days.