After more than 15 years as an assistant, Mike Budenholzer is now the man in charge. The Atlanta Hawks named Budenholzer as their new head coach in May 2013.
Born on Aug. 6, 1969, Mike Budenholzer is a native of Holbrook, Ariz. His father, Vince, spent 25 years as a high school and college basketball coach in Arizona and was inducted into the Arizona Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Budenholzer was a 4-year letterman in both basketball and golf at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and graduated in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in politics, philosophy and economics. After graduating, he played professionally in Denmark for the Vejle Basketball Klub. It was there that he also got his start in coaching, serving as head coach for two different teams in the Vejle system.
Budenholzer’s long association with the San Antonio Spurs began before the 1994-95 season when he was hired as a video coordinator. Two years later, he was named an assistant coach, a position he would hold for the next 17 years. He eventually became the top assistant to Gregg Popovich, the longest-tenured head coach in major professional sports and, in terms of winning percentage, the third most successful coach in NBA history. The Spurs won championships in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. In addition to serving as the Spurs summer league head coach many times, Budenholzer served as an advance scout for Team USA for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry developed a long-term relationship with Budenholzer in San Antonio. Ferry both played for Budenholzer and worked with him as an executive with the Spurs. Budenholzer was permitted to remain on San Antonio's coaching staff until the Finals concluded.
Popovich wasn’t upset about losing his top aide. “I couldn't be happier for Mike for many reasons,” Popovich said. “As anyone who's been part of this program knows, he has been more of a co-head coach than an assistant for a long time. His knowledge of the game as well as his ability to teach and develop relationships with players is all special. I will miss him a great deal both professionally and personally and am confident that he and Danny will make a great team as the future unfolds.” Added Spurs point guard Tony Parker: “Mike Budenholzer has been extremely important to our success in San Antonio. He is a great coach. I think the Hawks made an excellent choice, and I'm very happy for Coach Bud.”