Mike Dunleavy Sr. has begun his first college coaching job, saying the reason he wanted to take over Tulane's men's basketball program was to put himself "in position to coach again and really to be a teacher."
Dunleavy said Tuesday when he was introduced that after a lengthy career as an NBA player and coach the basketball was the easy part, "Now I'm looking to be a teacher of men."
Tulane is hoping the 62-year-old Dunleavy's 17 years of experience coaching at professional basketball's highest level will translate well. He last coached in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2003 to 2010.
Dunleavy said that although he hasn't coached in six years, he's remained active in basketball, working with individual players at various levels
Athletic director Troy Dannen said Dunleavy approached Tulane about its opening. He replaces Ed Conroy, who coached Tulane for six seasons.
Dannen was looking for a candidate who could bring what he views as a "sleeping giant back to life."
He believes he found that person in Dunleavy.
For his part, Dunleavy said one of his qualifications for coaching in college is, "I've produced 3 D-1 basketball players in my family," adding, "My references are Dunleavy, Dunleavy and Dunleavy."
He also had a few other bullets to for his resume, including coaching the Los Angeles Lakers (1990-92), Milwaukee Bucks (1992-96) and Portland Trail Blazers (1997-2001).
Dannen noted during news conference that Dunleavy will find that he won't be as hard to work with as Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The AD has no doubt Dunleavy will work hard to be successful.
Dannen said his new coach, who's wife's sister lives in New Orleans, "has a passion for us and he has a passion for this city and he has a passion to teach."
Dunleavy said his ties to New Orleans were an important factor in pursuing the Tulane job. Given that he hoped to have a 10-15 year run in his next job, one of his requirements was "being in a community that I know I would enjoy living and being a part of it."
The Brooklyn, New York, native played for South Carolina in college and then spent all or part or 11 seasons in the NBA between 1976 and 1990, suiting up for Philadelphia, Houston, San Antonio and Milwaukee. He played in only a few games during 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons with the Bucks after a three-year retirement during which he'd served as a Milwaukee assistant coach. He then began his career as an NBA head coach with the Lakers.
Dunleavy won 613 regular season games as an NBA head coach, which ranks 24th all-time. He has also coached his NBA teams to victories in 38 playoff games. He was named the 1999 NBA Coach of the Year with Portland.
Dunleavy's hiring marks the second major coaching move by Dannen, who was hired himself by Tulane in December and then quickly moved to bring in Willie Fritz as the Green Wave's new football coach.