Spurs defeated the Pacers Monday Night, 95-93, in a game that had more importance than usual. Coach Gregg Popovich has entered himself into the 1,000 win club, becoming the 9th coach in NBA history to hit that mark. This wasn't an easy win for the Spurs, who trailed 68-79 going into the 4th quarter, and if it wasn't for a 20-10 run in the final 8 1/2 minutes of the quarter, Pop might have had to wait another day for the 1,000 win
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker both played 30 minutes, Duncan with 15 points, 8 boards, and 5 blocks, while Parker finished with 19 points and 6 dimes. Danny Green led the Spurs in rebounding with 12.
Anytime a coach hits 1,000 wins, the first thing that comes to mind is longevity. Pop's coaching career began in 1973 at his alma mater, Air Force, where he spent 6 years as an assistant. From there he went on to coach D3 school, Pomona-Pitzer, where he spent 8 years, before becoming an assistant for the Spurs in 1988. Pop wouldn't become a Head Coach in the NBA until 1996 but when he was granted the opportunity, he never looked back.
Pop is the third fastest coach to 1,000 wins, behind only Pat Riley (1,434 games) and Phil Jackson (1,423 games). Unlike Phil and Pat, all of Pop's wins come with one team. Since 1996, the Spurs has the best win percentage, which isn't shocking since they have sixteen 50-win seasons under Pop. One thing all three of these coaches have in common though is Hall of Fame players, which also comes to mind when I hear 1,000 wins. You have to be lucky enough to be able to get premier players such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginoboli, all of whom were groomed by Coach Pop. At the age of 66, it's no telling when Pop will call it quits but I'm sure, he has a few more seasons left in the tank.