NBA News: Cavaliers announce hiring of Mike Brown as head coach

The Cleveland Cavaliers have named seven-year NBA veteran head coach and Cavaliers all-time winningest head coach Mike Brown as the team’s new head coach, confirming reports which leaked late Tuesday afternoon.

“I am more than excited about Mike Brown’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers,” said team majority owner Dan Gilbert. “Mike has done nothing but win in this league since he was a first-year assistant many years ago. He is going to instill a much-needed defensive-first philosophy in our young and talented team that is going to serve as our foundation and identity as we continue down the path of building the kind of franchise that competes at a championship level for many years to come.”

Brown has won at least one playoff series every full season he has been a head coach in the NBA. Among head coaches who have coached in the NBA 5-years or longer, Brown and Phil Jackson are the only coaches whom have never missed the playoffs in their entire coaching career. He is also the only head coach in NBA history to win the first round of the playoffs every year of his head coaching career (coached five years or longer).

During Mike’s six full years as an NBA coach with the Cavaliers and the Lakers, Brown had the 2nd highest winning percentage (.657%) among all NBA head coaches who were at the helm four years or longer.

In five seasons with the Cavs, he compiled a record of 272-138 (.663). Brown was named the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year by members of the media and compiled a post season record with the Cavs of 42-29 (.592). He led the team to at least the second round of the post season in each of his five seasons, including Cleveland’s first ever trip to the NBA Finals in 2007.

“Mike is an excellent head coach and a proven winner,” said Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant. “He has a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed as a team and that will be integral to helping us reach our full potential, said Grant. “We are fortunate to have Mike back and I look forward to him leading our team to a very successful future.”

Brown led the Cavaliers to NBA-best records in both 2008-09 (66-16) and 2009-10 (61-21). During those two record seasons, the Cavaliers ranked at, or near, the top of the NBA in the majority of all major defensive and offensive statistical categories. Following the firing of former head coach Byron Scott, Grant stated that the team would be looking to hire a coach who would instill defensive focus, as the Cavaliers were dead last in the league in opposing field goal percentage in 2012-13.

“I am thrilled to return to Cleveland to coach the Cavaliers,” said Brown. “The commitment ownership and management have shown in their efforts to build a successful team and organization is deep and I am excited to lead the team forward. Nothing would mean more to me and my family than to help bring success to this very special community and to all of our committed and loyal fans.”

Brown, 43, most recently coached the Los Angeles Lakers and was the head coach of the Cavaliers from 2005-10. He has a career head coaching record of 314-167 (.652) which is the 6th-highest winning percentage in NBA history among coaches with at least 400 games coached.

[Related: Mike Brown Take Two? In The Right Situation, Yes]

  • architrance

    “Brown has won at least one playoff series every full season he has been a
    head coach in the NBA. Among head coaches who have coached in the NBA
    5-years or longer, Brown and Phil Jackson are the only coaches whom have
    never missed the playoffs in their entire coaching career”

    They’ve also only ever coached teams w/Jordan/Kobe/Lebron. Coincidence?

  • Andrew

    One day they’ll say “They’ve also only ever coached teams w/Jordan/Kobe/LeBron/Kyrie. Coincidence?”


  • architrance

    Your glass is surprisingly full for this early in the morning…

  • Tom

    Here’s why I always have and still do love Mike Brown: The 2007 Cavs made the finals as an elite defensive unit. Their starting lineup that year? Larry Hughes (steals guy, but not known as a defensive stopper), Sasha “My offense is my defense” Pavlovic, Lebron James (before he really cared about defense), Drew Gooden (need I say more), and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (not exactly known as a feared rim protector). The point is, elite defenses win, and Brown showed that he doesn’t need All-NBA-caliber defenders on his roster to build a great team defense.

  • woofersus

    It helps, but people have found ways to not be very good with superstars on the team. Winning 66 games is no small feat – especially considering what hindsight has taught us about the “supporting cast” we had around Lebron.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I just wanted to give you an uptick and say that you made me feel a lot better with this comment, Tom. There are certainly possible negatives with Mike Brown at the helm, but this is a solid reason to be excited. 2007 was before Boobie Gibson learned to play solid on-ball defense as well.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I hope someone man’d up and asked why was Mike Brown fired in the first place. I think we all know and I know Gilbert won’t come right out and say it but I’d like to see or hear his excuse none the same.

    I see alot of people giving him credit for working with young players which is kind of odd since he has had no real success with any draft picks. Shannon Brown, Danny Green, JJ Hickson and the like. Now Brown comes to a team with nothing but young players. Good luck Cavaliers fans and more importantly good luck Kyrie.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Gibson was and is certainly a defensive force no doubt about it!

  • Bulls won over 50 games and did make it to the second round without Jordan the year he was playing baseball.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    What it shows is just how great LeBron James was at a young age. But the one silver lining in all of this that I’ll be paying attention to is lets see just how great a head coach Mike Brown is without LeBron James. He has the opportunity to show LeBron, myself and everyone else while vindicating Dan Gilbert. Gilbert is already 0-1 in promised Cavaliers championships vs LeBron championships and after this season it will most likely be 0-2.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Also thank you Dan Gilbert my Kool-Aid sales are going through da roof! OH YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEA!

  • The_Real_Shamrock


  • humboldt

    I was a football/baseball guy growing up so don’t have a very sophisticated understanding of basketball. What mechanisms/strategies does a coach like Brown use to get his guys to commit to playing defense? And how does this work at the NBA level w/ today’s players? What I’m really asking is how Mike Brown will get Kyrie Irving to significantly improve as a defender.

  • mgbode

    w/ LeBron it was always said that he let him have more freedom on offense if he dedicated himself to Brown’s schemes on defense. we’ll see if he changes that philosophy.

  • ThatAlex

    Kyrie (and the rest of the players) would have to buy into Brown’s system in order for it to be effective. It’s only as strong as its weakest link.
    I know one thing Brown used to do when he was here, was he would meticulously study game film (probably moreso than other head coaches) and break down the points where the players failed on defense.
    Then in practice, he would re-create those situations over and over again as a drill until the players got it right.

  • humboldt

    ok, so it’s more of a carrot approach then? I guess you can’t really deny your superstar playing time for not playing defense, or it ends up being a Pyrrhic Victory for the coach.

    Am curious how much has to do with the interpersonal motivation you mention relative to Brown’s “defensive schemes”? Is he more sophisticated as a defensive coach than Byron Scott?

  • Jay

    I think I’m most excited about the return of the hockey assist stats.

  • hutch058

    I for one am happy that someone who would have had choices chose Cleveland….

  • Steve

    You emphasize making the right decision in practice over and over again, just like football. You teach these guys how, where, and when to help and recover so that when Kyrie gets caught going lackadaisically through a screen again, the rest of the team still has a chance to generate a stop.

  • Steve

    You’re not going to make Kyrie a good defender unless he’s willing to improve his game like Lebron did, but you can certainly cover for his shortcomings in the same way they did with Williams, Gibson, Jones, and the string of awful bench guards we had.