Popovich ’70 receives Hall call

April 3, 2023

National Basketball Association coach Gregg Popovich ’70 has been selected for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

The winningest coach in NBA history and a five-time NBA champion, Popovich played for the Falcon basketball team while a USAFA cadet. He was team captain and the leading scorer for Air Force during his senior year.

He graduated with a degree in Soviet studies and underwent intelligence training while in the Air Force. He played for the U.S. Armed Forces Basketball Team during his active-duty time.

In 1973, Popovich began his coaching career, returning to USAFA as an assistant coach under head basketball coach Hank Egan.

After several stints as coach in the college ranks following his transition from the military, Popovich transitioned to the pro game. He’s been the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs since 1996. He has been named NBA Coach of the Year three different years.

The project is slated to be completed in early 2027. The project, which initially was supposed to be completed in four years, ran into unexpected asbestos removal issues that has delayed its progress.

Popovich will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, along with 11 other inductees, during festivities Aug. 11-12.

Other inductees include Gene Bess, Pau Gasol, David Hixon, Gene Keady, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade, Gary Blair, Becky Hammon, the 1976 Women’s Olympic Basketball Team and Jim Valvano.