The American basketball coach who led the San Antonio Spurs to National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014 is Gregg Popovich. He has contributed tremendously to the growth of the team and of course, have been rewarded for his good works. In addition to coaching the NBA side, Pop has since 2015 been the coach of the US men’s national basketball team. Here are the highlights of key aspects of the champion’s life and career.
Gregg Popovich Biography (Age)
Gregg Popovich’s middle name is Charles, he was born on January 28, 1949, in East Chicago, Indiana, U.S. He is of Serbian and Croatian descent. He attended the U.S Air Force Academy and there, he demonstrated his expertise in the game of basketball. Soon, he became the team’s captain and the highest scorer in most games.
He proceeded to the University of Denver where he later bagged a degree in Soviet Studies as well as a masters degree in physical education and sports science. Meanwhile, during his days with the military force, he traveled around Europe and the Soviet Union. He was subsequently made the captain of the team eventually winning the Amateur Athletic Union Basketball Championship. This singular act caught the attention of so many basketball teams and Gregg Popovich gained a spot to train for the 1972 Olympics, but sadly, he didn’t make the cut.
Subsequently, he worked as an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy. His dedication to the basketball team cemented his position as an assistant professor and coach at Pomona Pitzer College for eight loyal years. He was also a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Kansas and later rejoined Brown as an assistant with Spurs in 1988-99.
In 1992, he became staff for the NBA Golden State Warriors but later returned to San Antonio as the executive vice president of basketball operations/general manager in 1994 and 1995. In the following years, he became San Antonio Spurs’ head coach.
Popovich refined the Twin Towers of David Robinson and Tim Duncan who at that time were two of the game’s best post players. Together, they won the NBA championships in 1998–99 and repeated their win in 2002–03. Then, Greg Popovich was honored as the NBA Coach of the Year, an award he has won at least thrice.
One distinct feature about the coach is his ability to refine and manage players effectively. Even after David Robison retired, Spurs kept on winning lots and lots of games as well as claiming several championship titles. What he did with the Twin Towers, he replicated with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
As expected, Gregg Popovich in the 2007-2008 season, took his team to a conference final game, unfortunately, they lost to the Los Angeles Parkers. However, the postseason was successful and Spurs’ unbeatable wins gained Greg Popovich the Coach of the Year award that season. In 2015, Greg Popovich was made the head coach of the United States of America national basketball team.
Family – Wife and Kids
Gregg Popovich is a man known for one wife. He was married to Erin Popovich, was faithful to her even unto death. Sadly, Erin passed on sometime in April 2018. Her death shook the whole sports world especially most basketball teams as they couldn’t hide their feelings, flooding the internet with condolences messages.
Erin who was born in 1951 suffered from an ailment which started sometime in the ’90s. She fought hard and lived with the ailment for over a decade. Details of Erin’s diagnosis are not readily available online, however, sources say that she was diagnosed with an ailment that affected her lungs. Meanwhile, while she was alive, she was not one who loved to flaunt in front of cameras, she stayed on low key and neglected most interview invites.
Greg Popovich met his better half during his days at Air Force Academy, Erin at that time was the daughter of the school athletic trainer; Jim Conboy and was also the friend of the dean’s daughter, Betsy. The duo later became an item.
While it lasted, their union spanned over four decades producing 2 children; a son – Micky and a daughter – Jill. Erin was also privileged to see her two grandchildren before kicking the bucket.
Salary and Net Worth
Gregg, through his years as a coach, has undoubtedly contributed tremendously to the progress of the Spurs basketball team. His reward with the team includes his annual take-home of about $8 million. It is believed that Coach Pop is worth at least $30 million.
It has been quite a number of years Gregg Popovich ran on the field as an athlete. At his age, he has managed to maintain a healthy body physique. Standing at a height of 6 feet 2 inches, Coach Pop doesn’t feel intimidated standing among the younger men he coaches.