The Nuggets and Magic are reportedly planning to target University of Florida coach Billy Donovan this coming offseason, and Donovan is apparently as receptive as ever to taking an NBA job. He has a track record of producing successful NBA players be the most decorated college coach to come to the NBA in quite some time, perhaps since Rick Pitino, who coached Donovan in college, made his leap from Kentucky to the Celtics. That didn’t turn out well for Pitino, and he certainly wasn’t alone. No coach who has gone directly from a college job to an NBA head coaching job since the turn of the century has guided his team to the playoffs. Of course, that would change if Brad Stevens makes the postseason with his Celtics this year, and Boston is tied with the Heat for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s a look at each of the coaches who’ve made the college-to-NBA jump since 2000. Note that this doesn’t include former college coaches who were in other jobs, such as NBA assistant coaching gigs, when they became NBA head coaches.
- Brad Stevens, Butler to Celtics, 2013 — 59-98, no playoffs (yet)
- Mike Dunlap, St. John’s (assistant) to Bobcats, 2012 — 21-61, no playoffs, fired after one season
- Reggie Theus, New Mexico State to Kings, 2007 — 44-62, no playoffs, fired midway through 2008/09 season
- Mike Montgomery, Stanford to Warriors, 2004 — 68-96, no playoffs, fired in 2006
- Leonard Hamilton, Miami (Fla.) to Wizards, 2000 — 19-63, no playoffs, resigned in 2001
- Lon Kruger, Illinois to Hawks, 2000 — 69-122, no playoffs, fired midway through 2002/03 season