Dunleavy’s Professional Touch Could Be What Tulane Needs


Tulane Has To Overcome Many Obstacles For Stability

By John Ventola

Last week Tulane hired former long-time NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. to resurrect its moribund basketball program. The Green Wave has been mired in a two-decade period of mediocrity since former coach Perry Clark led them on a successful five-year stretch during the 1992-1996 seasons. Clark’s teams won their first round NCAA games in 1992, 1993, 1995, and won an opening game in the 1994 NIT. In 1996, the Greenies won four NIT games before being defeated, finishing third in the tournament.

Dunleavy, 62, a former player with the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Milwaukee Bucks, will have his work cut out for him. Of course, he


Dunleavy Will Have To Show He Can Recruit

will handle the sideline duties just fine. The possessor of a solid basketball acumen and excellent communication skills, he should appeal to the Green Wave fan base. The question to be asked is whether or not he will be able to get recruits to the Crescent City. Dunleavy has never coached on the collegiate level and, consequently, has never been on the recruiting trail.

The native New Yorker established many contacts during his four-decade career as a four-year point guard for South Carolina, his nine years as an NBA player, and his 17-year NBA coaching career. Since resigning as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2010 season, Dunleavy has recently worked as TNT’s NBA analyst. No doubt, he will try to use his network of basketball contacts to get a strong nucleus of talent to campus.

Prospective recruits should find the possibility of being coached by a former NBA coach attractive. Competing universities will, no doubt, use Dunleavy’s age against him and


Larry Brown Has Proven Age Does Not Curtail Basketball Success

Tulane, but one only has to look at SMU, and long-time college and NBA coach Larry Brown, to see that age can be overcome by solid X and O abilities.

Fired Tulane coach Ed Conroy was never able to establish a consistent program in his six years on Freret Street, posting just one winning season, 2012-13 (20-15). Conroy’s overall record of 92-103, and a continuing decrease in fan support forced new Tulane Athletic Director Troy Dannen to make the change. Conroy had players transfer out of the program almost every year he was at the helm.

Dunleavy’s wife Emily is a New Orleans native. The Dunleavys have three sons who work in basketball. Mike Jr., a former Duke player, plays for the Chicago Bulls, Baker is an assistant coach for Final Four bound Villanova, and James is an NBA player agent.

After his playing career ended, Dunleavy moved from player to assistant coach with the Bucks. His three-year assistant coaching gig in Milwaukee ended when he was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He took the Lakers to the NBA Finals his first


Dunleavy Had 17-Year NBA Coaching Career And Was League’s Coach of the Year in 1999

season where they lost to the Chicago Bulls. After one more season in LA, Dunleavy took the head coaching job with Milwaukee where he had four losing seasons with the Bucks. Proving that the NBA truly does circulate coaches, Dunleavy moved on to Portland where he coached the Trailblazers to four consecutive winning seasons, twice taking them to the Western Conference Finals. He coached the Los Angeles Clippers for seven seasons before he stepped down in 2010.

Dunleavy had a 613-716 (.461) NBA coaching record, and compiled a 38-33 record in NBA playoffs. He was the NBA Coach of the Year in 1999, and briefly served as General Manager of the Bucks and Clippers.

Small, intimate Devlin Fieldhouse (capacity, 3,600), the nation’s ninth oldest active basketball facility, has seen crowds dwindle over the last five years, larger crowds showing up only for highly-ranked opponents. While the venue does not lend itself to a large crease in attendance, Dunleavy’s basketball reputation should be enough to reenergize the Green Wave program, fill Devlin, and get the program stabilized for the next five years.

Clark, a former Georgia Tech assistant when hired by Tulane, resurrected the program after it was shut down in 1985 by a point-shaving scandal. It will be Dunleavy’s job to pump life into a dying program, put a quality team on the court, and again spin the turnstiles on campus.

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