Cavs Coach: Ranking every head coach in franchise history

Cavs Coach: The Cleveland Cavaliers played their first game in the year 1970. They were an expansion team with a name derived from a contest. Which also had “Foresters” and “Presidents” as the finalists. They hired the successful university head coach Bill Fitch, who led them to a 15-67 mark which earned them the no. first, pick in the following year. They used the pick to select Austin Carr.

52 years after that 52 seasons later, 52 seasons later. The Cavs have enjoyed a lengthy and turbulent run starting from the lows of the 1970s. The early 2000s to the top of the mountain in 2016 the year that another no. one pick in LeBron James gave Cleveland their first title.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had 23 head coaches throughout their history.

How do you determine which Cavs coach placed from worst to top?

J.B. Bickerstaff is the current coach of the Cavaliers which is the 23rd coach in the history of the franchise. The players who have been on the sidelines have been a variety of Hall of Fame. Coaches like Lenny Wilkens to interim head coaches who have never coached elsewhere. They’ve never been as successful as Fitch’s 9 seasons or 738 games. In fact, one of the interim coaches only played three games.

Who were the greatest coaches in the history of the franchise? Let’s look at the list from 23rd to 1st taking a look back at Cleveland franchise history. Recalling some fond memories, both bad and good for long-time fans. It all starts by introducing Bob Kloppenburg and his fellow interim coaches.

The Cleveland team’s 23 head coaches handed less than a year’s number of contests to show their worth. Some dismiss in their debut season as head coaches, and others took over as the interim coach for a short year. One coach, Don Delaney, did both of them in 26 games for the team.

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23. Bob Kloppenburg (Cavs Coach)

Record: 0-3

In the 1981-1982 season, Bob Kloppenburg was in his first season as Cleveland’s coach. After he hires from Lenny’s team in Seattle (more about Wilkens his future as a Cleveland coach, in the future). The head coach Don Delaney fired 15 games into the season, after being 4-11. Kloppenburg brought in for only three wins as they sought out and hired a new manager, Chuck.

22. John Beilein (Cavs Coach)

Record: 14-40

After a success in college, which included

21. Chuck

Record: 9-32

A few years before he was able to coach in the Bad Boys Pistons in Detroit to two championships. Or lead the “Dream Team” Men’s Olympic Basketball Team to the Gold Medal in Barcelona. Offer his first head coaching opportunity in Cleveland. In mid-season, for the team which stood at 4-14. He wasn’t able to transform the team immediately. He was 9-32 when the team dismissed him, which resulted in the team hiring Bill Musselman to close the year.

20. Keith Smart

Record: 9-31

Keith Smart was an assistant coach during this season. 2002/03 in Cleveland was the time when both were the supporters of the team. As well as the national media were in love with Cleveland local LeBron James. an incoming student at the high school who expects to be the no. one pick in the coming draft. It is unclear if the front office tried to stall the team. The head trainer John Lucas had a roster that did not work well. He did not make it better, which led to his firing midseason.

Smart assumed the team and was unable to do anything with the team. Smart was 9-31 over the stretch, which was low enough to see Cavs acquiring the top pick. So having the right to select LeBron. Smart did not get to stay to see how the draft was going, since the team replace veteran coach Paul Silas. Smart transfer to his new team, the Golden State Warriors.

19. Don Delaney (Cavs Coach)

Record: 7-19

Don Delaney seems to have been coaching at the right time to make it into the NBA. He was the head coach of a small Ohio community college. Before moving to a small college (Dyke College) located in Cleveland the first place. At the time Cavaliers manager, Ted Stepien hired him to coach the team in March of 1981 after Bill Musselman. Delaney ended up going 3-8 the rest of the year and then 4-11 for the following one. Before he dismiss, being the first of four coaches who would manage the team during that season.

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18. Gene Littles (Cavs Coach)

Record: 4-11

The Cleveland Cavaliers made it to the playoffs despite a record of 36-46 in 1984-85. Under the head coach George Karl. It was clear that they couldn’t go to the postseason again the following year, Karl dismiss as well. Gene Littles gave the coaching job to end the disastrous season. He was in the stands during the final 15 games as the Cavs finished 4-11. Littles was not kept as the team hired Lenny Wilkens the following year.

Cavs Coach

17. Larry Drew

Record: 19-57

LeBron James resigned from the team twice in the year 2018. Ty Lue wasn’t keen to oversee a major reconstruction and dismiss. After six games of the 2018-19 NBA season. The team left with Larry Drew, the former Atlanta Hawks. Milwaukee Bucks head coach, to assume the role as interim coach. He was savvy enough to negotiate a permanent title as well as a pay increase to head the team for the rest of the season. The lack of talent and the organization’s mandate to entice players. The draft resulted in the team not winning. He was 19-57 and was not retained at the close of the season.

16. Brendan Malone

Record: 8-10

Brendan Malone took over as interim head coach. After Paul Silas’ fire midway into the 2004-05 season. The Cavs, who began strong during LeBron James’ second season. but, we’re unable to sustain their momentum and dropped a few games to finish over .500. Malone could not maintain their standard, with a final that was enough to knock from the playoffs. But, he managed to field a young squad and did not collapse completely in the final stretch. Putting Malone at the top within the period of in-between teams.

15. Byron Scott

Record: 64-166

A head coach who was not a good fit would be able to manage this team “Team. That LeBron Left” and maintain the team on a winning track. But, Byron Scott was poor in his three years as the team’s head coach. In spite of the presence of many skilled players, including two seasons with Kyrie Irving. But the team failed to win any more than 24 contests. They also averaged only 21.3 wins per season.

14. John Lucas

Record: 37-87

John Lucas was a good NBA player that was well-loved across the league (and continues to be). But, the team was a complete failure during his 2 head-coaching stints during the 90s. But the Cavaliers were able to sign him on for the 2001-02 season to manage a team. That was winning the average 31 times over the previous two seasons. Lucas did manage to lower the average to 29-53. The following season, he started 8-34 and release in mid-season. It was the season that was the most difficult for the franchise. Since the very first expansion team in the 1970s and 1971s.

13. Bill Musselman

Record: 27-67

Bill Musselman was an intense coach who moved between stops in a flash. He earned his name on his alma mater, the University of Minnesota. Once stating “Defeat is worse than death because you have to live with defeat.” Unfortunately, Musselman had a lot of it to bear after he was 25-46 for the 1980-81 season. Before the new owners, Ted Stepien fired him 11 games before the conclusion of the season.

In a bizarre turn of events, Stepien went back to Musselman one year later. After dismissing three coaches in 1981-1982. Musselman got a second chance to lead the team for the remaining 23 games. He was even worse than the previous time only winning two games. In the final two games of the season before losing his job.

12. Tom Nissalke (Cavs Coach)

Record: 51-113

For the first time in the history of the franchise. The Cavaliers made it to the NBA for the head coach instead of the college as well as assistant coaches. Tom Nissalke won Coach of the Year in the ABA and later as a coach in the NBA with the Houston Rockets. After three years as a player with the Utah Jazz. He took over the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1982 and played for two full seasons. He was one of the few coaches under the ownership of Ted Stepien to make it in an entire season and even two seasons. After losing more than twice the number of games the ones he won, he was not hired.

Cavs Coach

11. J.B. Bickerstaff (Cavs Coach)

Record: 27-56

In the history of the franchise, ten times. The Cavaliers have had to fire an assistant coach midway into the season. Only twice, an interim coach has been around for the rest of the season. In 1981, Don Delaney coached the final 11 games of the season. before he started the following season. But was a disappointing 4-11 before dismiss.

J.B. Bickerstaff has survived for longer than the late Mr. Delaney. When John Beilein’s Cavs and John Beilein proved an unfit team. He took the role of interim head coach in the early part of 2020. This was not a new area for Bickerstaff who took over midway through this season. Working with Houston Rockets in 2015-16 and the Memphis Grizzlies in 2017-18.

In Cleveland, the team he was with was a team. That disorganized after a 14-40 debut with Beilein and was an impressive five-six. Before the COVID-19 epidemic stopped the season. This glimmer of optimism and a determination to keep the costs low. What saw Bickerstaff selected for the 2020-21 season. When his record was 22-50, despite an array of injuries and trades, where the roster changed under his feet.

Bickerstaff will take another shot at the pinata in the coming season. As the team has a new high-cost team and plenty of young talent. It’s not realistic to expect Bickerstaff to take this team to the playoffs. But, Bickerstaff must show that the value he brings to the table other than trying the next person. If not, he’ll likely replace by coach 24 of the franchise.

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10. Randy Wittman

Record: 62-102

After a long playing career, Wittman became an assistant coach. He received praise for his coaching of promising youngsters like Kevin Garnett. In the Cavaliers in the latter part of 1990 had a group of promising young players. Wittman considers being the ideal person to assist them. In their development and help get Cleveland back to winning methods. This but, was not the case in the end, because Wittman suffered losses of at least 50 games. Both of his seasons before dismiss.

9. Stan Albeck

Record: 37-45

Stan Albeck was the team’s second coach, taking over from Bill Fitch to start the 1979-80 season. After three years with the team in playoffs, Albeck was in charge. When the team fell into a bleak rut of nine straight losing seasons. Then, when the notorious Cleveland owner Ted Stepien bought the team in 1980. One of his first decisions was to dismiss Albeck and appoint a fresh head coach.

8. George Karl

Record: 61-88

The Cleveland Cavaliers might be the league’s best team at not being able to work with head coaches. Who were later to achieve great success in other cities. After having led the “Montana Golden Nuggets” of the Continental Basketball Association. To the Finals in the early 80s, the Cleveland front office staff him in 1983. Following the season, he names head coach for the 1984-85 season.

Karl And the Cavs were 2-19 at the start but made a comeback. Winning 34-27 and making it into the postseason for the first time for seven years. After dipping with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. The Cavs returned the following year and were unable to stay above 500. But that’s the only thing that it took for new owner Gordon George Gund. Gordon George Gund to bring down the head coach.

Cavs Coach

7. Paul Silas

Record: 69-77

Paul Silas was a person who had a championship pedigree. Having won three championships while playing in the Seattle Supersonics and Boston Celtics. He was an instructor in the year 1980 and had more than two decades of coaching experience to his name. When he appoints to supervise LeBron James’ debut season as a player in the NBA. The team saw improvement and doubled its win total from the year prior.

They continued to build over the following year and Silas. LeBron took LeBron and Silas to a stout 31-21 mark by the end of February. After a slide that was losing, the team brought them down to 34-30. After which the Cavs new owner decided to sack Silas after 20 games left. The Cavs Destin to drop them from the playoffs.

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6. David Blatt (Cavs Coach)

Record: 83-40

There are two different ways to analyze David Blatt’s time in the Cavaliers. The first is to focus only on the stats in the record book which are definitely impressive. Blatt led The Cavaliers through the NBA Finals in his first season. As a coach, boosting the total of their wins twenty games. However, In 123 games for the team, he won 67.5 percent of games. This is the most successful percentage among any coaches in the history of the franchise.

To comprehend the time that Blatt spent as a member of the team, it is necessary to look deeper. Blatt manages an unproven team. However, That was rebuilt with an ego huge enough to not belong in the same room as LeBron James. Blatt was adamant about the notion of someone. Other than David Blatt calling the shots and dissatisfied with James. For his fame and authority within the locker rooms as well as at the basketball court.

He was unable to earn the trust of a group. That skill was enough to take home the title. the top management decided to let go of Blatt to lift the ceiling for their team. The decision to dismiss him in 2016 enabled the team to move ahead and claim the championship.

5. Bill Fitch (Cavs Coach)

Record: 304-434

The journey began with Bill Fitch and the Cleveland Cavaliers. As an expansion team in 1970. Fitch came in from the college ranks to establish something from nothing. They only managed 15-67 during their debut season, earning them the first pick (Austin Carr). However, They improved cellar-dweller from. That point but, over the initial four seasons, they were terrible.

The team began to grow and Fitch was in charge of their progress from a cellar-dweller into an actual playoff team. At the age of 6, they had did not make the playoffs as a 49-win team but also took the series. They would reach the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. Which is a remarkable feat for a brand new team within the Eastern Conference loaded with talent.

Despite the optimism of three straight winning seasons and a strong young core. The wheels started to fall off after that and the team sank to only 30 wins. Fitch was able to pay the price and replace. He began with a coaching carousel that would last for 10 years till Lenny Wilkens hire. Fitch is 11th on the NBA’s list of all-time wins. But is also 2nd on the all-time loss list, with 46 percent of his career-winning percentage.

4. Mike Fratello

Record: 248-212

After a successful time coaching the Atlanta Hawks in the 1980s. Mike Fratello went into the broadcast booth and played. An important role at NBC along with Marv Albert. In search of a new voice that could help a strong core lift. However, The Cavaliers attracted Mike Fratello back to the coaching position in 1994.

The team was coached by him for six seasons, and he won 53.9 percent of the games he played. This is the fifth-highest percentage in the history of the franchise. The Cavs made it to the playoffs four times under Fratello but failed to make it past the first round. Falling the first round to Eastern Conference powerhouses like. However, Michael Jordan’s Bulls Patrick Ewing’s Knicks, and Reggie Miller’s Pacers. The team was sloppy in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. Fratello suffered the consequences as the team sack following the team’s 22-28 record.

3. Lenny Wilkens

Record: 316-258

Lenny Wilkens was a successful player in the NBA and made nine. All-Star appearances and even finished second in MVP votes in 1967-68. But his career as a player surpasses by a lengthy and prosperous coaching career. He started his profession in Seattle as a coach and player and later.

Returned back to Seattle after his playing times end. In Seattle, he was the coach who led his team the SuperSonics towards their first NBA Finals twice. Winning the championship in 1979.

When he left Seattle when he left the city. The Cavaliers immediately give him a contract. He performed in Cleveland exactly the same thing. He had done in Seattle turning around a team that was in a rut. However, In the second season, the team was over .500 at the beginning of the past decade. They made the playoffs in five of the following six seasons.

The Cavs have won at least 50 games 3 times during Wilkens’s seven seasons as a coach. Which is the most of any coach within the history of the franchise up to this date. Following the 1992-93 season. They decided that the club needed to recruit an unpretentious voice to attempt.

Breakthrough into the Eastern Conference dominated by Michael Jordan and hired Mike Fratello. Wilkens would later be the most successful coaching coach in NBA history, with 1.332 wins. Which he later gave in favor of Don Nelson and will shortly witness Gregg Popovich slip past him also.

2. Tyronn Lue

Record: 128-83

Ty Lue used to be the most famous player from game one of 2001’s. NBA Finals when Allen Iverson hit a shot into his face before he was able to step over the player. By 2016, he was a highly-paid assistant coach with the Cavaliers. Who impressed the team’s management enough to prompt them to dismiss. David Blatt is in the midst of a successful season.

Lue appointed and revolutionized the entire team’s culture and gave his players. More autonomy and allowing them to build relationships and be an entire team. The approach was successful, and the Cavs were able to be the winners of the NBA championship. For the first time in the history of the franchise. The Cavs were back in their place in the NBA Finals in each of the next two seasons, too.

The reason Lue is not the top choice on this list is due to two reasons. In the first place, for all that Lue was successful in taking Cavs Cavs to the championship. He was the most talented player in the world in the lead. Most important is the way Lue was in leading an organization that was without James.

0-6 in autumn of the year 2018 in a row with the team’s front office. Refusing to accept the possibility of rebuilding. He dismiss and moved on to join the LA Clippers. Both of these qualifications are not significant and yet they still consider him. As the second-best head coach in the history of the franchise despite. Being the coach for three seasons.

1. Mike Brown

Record: 305-187

Mike Brown spent time learning from Gregg Popovich. As an assistant coach in San Antonio, winning a distinction on that team in 2003. He brought everything he learned from Gregg with him to his new team, the Cavaliers in 2005. When the team hires to create the foundation around LeBron James’s rising star. That will enable the team to compete.

Without a plan of how to make use of a superstar-like. James with no prior coaching knowledge, Brown was successful in his mission. Brown was not able to lead Cavs Cavs into the postseason his debut season. But, they would also win at least one game each of the following five seasons.

The Cavs advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in history in 2007. Because of some incredible performances by LeBron. Brown constructed one of the league’s top defenses around LeBron. The offense also allowed James to cook. While the journey to the Finals was it was even more impressive.

How Brown continued to build his team to become one of the top teams in the league, both record-wise and. Brown set a record for the franchise which is still to broke with the team winning 66 times in 2008-09.

After a disappointing exit from the playoffs in 2010 Team manager. Dan Gilbert fired Brown in an attempt to entice LeBron to stay with Cleveland. However, It didn’t work as James decided to move his skills in the direction of South Beach.

After a few years, Gilbert acknowledged that he’d made a “mistake” firing Brown. Then brought him back one season as a coach during 2013-14, which was Brown’s sole loss record for the team. After that, he dismisses from the team. season, a few months after James returned to Cleveland.