Mike Dunlap, a little known but highly respected assistant coach with St. John’s, was hired Monday by Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats, the school said in a statement released early Tuesday morning.
Dunlap is a surprise hire because he has spent most of his career at the collegiate level, and was not mentioned as one of the leading candidates by Bobcat executives, who said the search was narrowed down to Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana assistant Brian Shaw and Lakers assistant Quin Snyder.
After initial interviews with Charlotte executives Rod Higgins and Rich Cho, Shaw and Snyder were brought in last week to interview with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.
Sloan pulled himself out of the running last week, and after meeting with Shaw and Snyder, Jordan decided to re-open the field and brought Dunlap back in for an interview on Monday, sources say. Impressed, Jordan offered Dunlap the job.
Cho told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz on Monday night that “a strong emphasis in player development was extremely high on our priority list,” in response to the Dunlap hire. Dunlap is known as a teacher of the game amid his peers in college and in the NBA.
Dunlap, who is known to favor an up-tempo style of play, will replace Paul Silas, whose contract was not renewed after Charlotte finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history this past season. The Bobcats were 7-59.