Undertaking his seventh USA Basketball head coaching assignment since August 2017, former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy has compiled a 13-2 overall record.
Selected to lead the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying teams, as the USA World Cup Qualifying team head mentor, Van Gundy has mentored USA World Cup Qualifying Team rosters featuring 47 different players to an 8-2 record as the USA successfully earned a qualifying berth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Opening FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying play facing Puerto Rico on Thanksgiving day 2017, the Americans pulled out an 85-78 win over Puerto Rico. Three days later his squad routed Mexico 91-55 in a home game in Greensboro, N.C.
Returning three months later to lead the USA during the February window of the World Cup Qualifying, coaching a different roster or players, Van Gundy directed the USA to a win over Cuba (84-48) and to a second win over Puerto Rico (83-75).
Faced in the third first-round window with the task of playing a pair of road World Cup Qualifying games while coaching a third different roster of World Cup Qualifying players, the USA went 1-1 and saw its five-game win streak end after falling 78-70 to Mexico in Mexico City. The Americas, however, regrouped and took a decisive 93-62 victory over Cuba in Havana to close out first-round play on a positive note.
The Americans opened second-round qualifying play with a home win over Uruguay (114-57) on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas, Nev., and journeyed to Panama City and collected a 78-48 win over Panama.
Most recently, Van Gundy led the Americans to a 1-1 record during the November/December World Cup Qualifying window that saw the USA split a pair of road games versus Argentina and Uruguay. The U.S. squad fell to Argentina 80-63 on Nov. 29 and bounced back three days later to claim a 78-70 win over Uruguay.
In his first USA Basketball coaching assignment, Van Gundy led the USA to a 5-0 record and gold medal finish at the FIBA AmeriCup 2017, the FIBA Americas zone championship. In claiming the title, Van Gundy directed a USA squad comprised primarily of NBA G League players to victories over Panama, Uruguay on its home court, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands and Argentina on its home court. Averaging 82.8 points a game, and limiting opponents to 63.2 points a game, the average margin of victory for the American team was 19.6 points per game.
Van Gundy boasts of 18 seasons of NBA coaching experience, including 11 seasons as a head coach and seven seasons as an assistant. All tallied, as a head coach he compiled an overall record of 430-318 (.575), and led teams to the NBA playoffs in nine of his 10 full seasons and posted a 44-44 all-time playoff record.
Van Gundy was named head coach of the New York Knicks on March 8, 1996, and while in that capacity for seven seasons (1995-96 – 2001-02), he compiled a 248-172 record and led Knick teams to six NBA playoff appearances.
In 1996-97, his first full season as head coach, he directed the Knicks to a 57-25 record, which ranked tied for the third-best record in franchise history. In the lockout–shortened 1998–99 season, battling through numerous injuries, New York finished 27–23 and earned the eighth seed for the playoffs. Van Gundy’s Knicks went on to defeat Miami, Atlanta and Indiana in the playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals where they lost to San Antonio. In advancing to the 1999 NBA Finals the Knicks became the first 8th-seeded team in NBA history to reach the NBA Finals. Nine games into the 2001–02 season, Van Gundy resigned as New York’s head coach.
On June 10, 2003, Van Gundy returned to the NBA and was named head coach of the Houston Rockets. In his four years (2003-04 – 2006-07) as the Rockets’ head mentor he compiled a record of 182-146 and advanced Houston to three NBA playoffs.
In his first season in Houston, the Rockets finished the 2003-04 season with a 45–37 record and made the NBA Playoffs for the first time in five years. In his second season, Houston compiled a record of 51-31 and again advanced to the playoffs. The 51 wins marked Houston’s first season with more than 50 wins in eight years. Two years later he again led Houston to the playoffs and a 52-30 record.
Van Gundy also spent six and a half seasons (1989-90 through 1995-96) as a New York Knicks assistant, and during that span, the Knicks won three Atlantic Division titles, never finished lower than third in the division and qualified for the playoffs every year.
He served as a graduate assistant under Rick Pitino at Providence College, helping the Providence Friars advance to the 1987 NCAA Final Four. In his second season with the Friars he was promoted to assistant coach as part of Gordon Chiesa’s staff. Van Gundy also spent one season (1988-89) as an assistant coach at Rutgers University.
Van Gundy joined ESPN in 2007 as an NBA analyst and has called 12 NBA Finals, the most Finals ever for a TV game analyst.
His father, Bill Van Gundy, was a head coach at Brockport State University and at Genesee Community College.
Jeff's older brother, Stan, later became head coach of the NBA's Miami Heat and Orlando Magic and was head coach and Director of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons from 2014-18.
As a high school player, he was a two-time All Greater Rochester selection in 1979 and 1980, leading Brockport Central to the Class AA finals. He continued his career at Nazareth College where he earned All American honors while leading the Golden Flyers to an NCAA Division II Tournament berth in 1984. He remains the Nazareth career leader in free throw percentage at 86.8 percent. Van Gundy attended Yale University before transferring to Menlo College and ultimately graduated from New York's Nazareth College in 1985. In 2011, Van Gundy received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Nazareth College.