Truths About Erin Popovich’s Long Marital Union With Gregg Popovich, Her Life Achievements and Death

Erin Popovich is the late wife to 5-time NBA champion, 3-time NBA Coach of the Year, and 4-time NBA All-Star Game head coach Gregg Popovich. She was a driving force in her husband’s successes through the world of basketball, becoming the link that helped get him the job of head coach, standing beside him as the one to reprimand him on being less confrontational in interviews.

She remained solidly beside her famous husband for more than 3 decades before her death in 2018. Despite relative prominence, she was still able to keep her most of her private life away from the public domain.

Erin Popovich And Greg Got Married In 1976

Erin Popovich
Erin with her husband, Gregg

Erin and Gregg’s love story began in the late 1960s when the two first met. At the time, Gregg Popovich, affectionately known as Pop, was a student at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. His dean, General Robert F. McDermott, had a daughter, Betsy, who most likely facilitated an introduction between Gregg and Erin, a friend of hers.

Erin and Gregg would later start dating in the 1970s. By 1976, they walked down the aisle in El Paso, Texas. The two remained together, true to their marital vows until death did them a part in 2018 when Erin died after more than 40 years of being with Gregg.

She Was A Mother Of Two At The Time Of Her Death

The union between Erin and her husband was blessed with two children, Micky Popovich and Jill Popovich, both of whom are already grown. While her son, Micky, was born in 1977, the younger of the two, Jill, was born in 1979. Jill has offered her father much support in his career, most especially in 2013 after he was feeling down following his loss at the 2013 NBA Finals.

Interestingly, neither of their kids has followed in the footsteps of their father, as they are both very private individuals. While Micky has been reported to be an elementary school teacher in the Seattle-area, there isn’t a lot that has been stated about his sister.

Erin also left behind two grandchildren at the time of her death.

Their Marriage Lasted Long Thanks To Their Love And Support For Each Other

Being married for over four decades is no small feat, but these two were able to pull it off. Since the moment they first got married, until Erin died, they loved each other and tried to support themselves in any way possible.

It is no secret that in 1988, when he became an assistant coach for the Spurs and finally head coach in 1996, his wife was instrumental in him securing the job as he was able to do so through his connection to her friend, Betsy. She was also always there to encourage him whenever he was feeling down or uncertain about his team’s capabilities.

For anyone who has taken the time to follow his interviews, Pop could sometimes be a blunt fellow who, at some point, was thought of as rude and arrogant. Although his late wife never criticized him in public, he revealed that she advised him not to be mean during interviews. He admitted that although his antics with sideline reporters could be entertaining to everyone else, his wife has never found it funny or entertaining in the least.

More so, though Gregg Popovich’s professional life is already out in the open, their marriage was able to survive as long as it did because they kept all details about their private life and marriage, as well as their kids, away from the prying eyes of the public.

A Closer Look Into The Early Life Of Erin Popovich

Erin Popovich (née Conboy) was born on the 5th of January 1951. She was the daughter of Jim Conboy, an Air Force Academy athletic trainer. For 43 years, her father acted as the head trainer of the academy, giving his advice and wisdom to all cadets. His particular focus, though, was on basketball and football players. Her father was a bonafide athlete, winning the world title in modern pentathlon, the gold medal, in 1979.

He got to coach the Falcons football team for four seasons, leading them to their first Western Athletic Conference title in 1998. In October of the same year, Jim Conboy passed away in a Colorado Springs hospital. While Erin Popovich’s father was the athletic trainer at the Air Force Academy, her husband (whom she hadn’t married yet) was also in the academy for his education.

Erin Popovich graduated from Colorado State University and was childhood best friends with Betsy Gwin—the daughter of Robert McDermott, an Air Force brigadier general at the time—since their second grade. It’s not wrong to say that Gregg Popovich was able to get the window into becoming one of the most successful NBA coaches thanks to his wife.

The general eventually led a consortium that purchased the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, and he needed a coach to handle the team’s training. Thanks to the encouragement from his daughter Betsy and the fact that he knew Erin Popovich very well, Robert McDermott decided to hire Gregg to be a coach. The rest, as they say, is history.

She Was Involved in Local Charities

Nothing about the professional life of Erin has been revealed, but what has been touted as her greatest life achievement is her involvement in various local charities.

A full-time housewife and mother, she and her husband have been involved in activities of the San Antonio Food Bank, making generous donations. Also, both Erin and Gregg have also donated to the Innocence Project.

After she lost her life, her love for charity was not forgotten as memorial contributions in her honor were made to ThriveWell Cancer Foundation of San Antonio as well as the CHEST Foundation.

Erin Popovich Passed Away On The 10th Of April, 2018

Erin Popovich
Greg and Erin Popovich (Image Source)

For years Erin Popovich battled with an illness, but the type of illness was not made known to the public. Only a select few in the family’s inner circle knew about the state of her health. It was something the Popovich family had decided they were going to keep private. A few months before her tragic passing, Erin’s family thought she getting better.

Erin Popovich passed away on the 10th of April, 2018. The night after she passed, the Spurs had a game to play. Her husband, in typical fashion, shared nothing of the event with anyone. As a result, there was no moment of silence, or any mention of her passing. No one shared condolences as Gregg Popovich decided to keep it under wraps.

This is not surprising as Erin Popovich preferred to stay completely away from the spotlight. While she was alive, the Spurs team only heard bits and pieces of the person she was, but they never fully knew who she was. And that was how she wanted it. She chose to back up her husband from the background, letting him take center stage.

Several media outlets reported she lost her life due to a respiratory illness she had been battling since the mid-90s. It further explains why when she wasn’t with her husband at many events, but would instead stay home.

On the announcement of her passing, several players, coaches, fans, and teams poured out their love and condolences to the Popovich family.

Felix thephylix
Felix thephylix
As an avid traveler and world explorer, I have been to over 25 countries in the last 10 years. I've taken countless photos, written about my experiences in award-winning stories and documented my travels. My work has been featured in many top travel websites, including National Geographic Traveler and The Guardian.


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