Mike Budenholzer Hired as Atlanta Hawks Head Coach


Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) talks with assistant coach Mike Budenholzer during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Budenholzer was the acting head coach for the game. The Spurs beat the Mavs 113-107. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

According to various reports including the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore, the Atlanta Hawks have hired San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer as head coach as of Tuesday afternoon.

It was earlier reported that the Spurs had granted Budenholzer a negotiating window with the Hawks as San Antonio has an extended break between the Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. It seems as if the Hawks have taken full advantage of that window in locking up their next head coach.

Budenholzer has been a member of the Spurs organization for 19 years, beginning as a video coordinator before being promoted to assistant coach, and later serving as Gregg Popovich’s “head” assistant for the past five seasons. It was believed that he was a top target for multiple NBA organizations including the Detroit Pistons, but former Spurs employee and current Hawks GM Danny Ferry was able to lure him to Atlanta.

Ferry’s previous relationship with Budenholzer can certainly be credited for the hire, but the upside of this move is tremendous. The Spurs organization is widely believed to be the best in the NBA, and if Budenholzer can bring that culture to Atlanta (with guidance from Ferry), that would be a tremendous win for the Hawks franchise.

In addition to the pure fact that the Hawks have secured a head coach, the timing is incredibly interesting. The Spurs are in the midst of an NBA Finals run, and diverting the attention of their top assistant could set off a curious sequence of events. However, Ferry’s familiarity with the franchise, and Budenholzer’s obvious interest likely aligned parts in a way that wouldn’t allow Atlanta to continue to wait until after the Finals, especially when the completion of the series could be approximately three weeks away.

Certainly, the jury will be out on this move until the 2013-2014 season gets underway, but I am exceedingly pleased with the choice. Former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy seemed to be the top target for Danny Ferry, but once he removed himself from the running, the logical choice was Budenholzer, and Ferry was able to close the deal. Stay tuned for much more coverage, but the Atlanta Hawks have landed their next head coach.