May and June are the two months when the National Basketball Association takes the lime light of the American sports culture and focuses it squarely on the playoffs. Avery Johnson and Southern University are sharing some of that lime light this year.
Johnson, who Graduated from Southern, is only the fifth black coach to receive the Coach Of The Year Award since its inception in 1963. He is also the first Dallas Mavericks coach to win the award. This was Johnson’s first complete season as head coach, which puts him on a short list of first year head coaches to win the award.
“ Words can’t describe how proud we are and what Avery means to us” said Southern University athletic director Greg LaFleur. “ Now we can point him out to prospective students and say when you come to Southern you can achieve anything. He has really
given back to Southern both financially and with his personal time.”
For the hundreds of players that, have and continue to, matriculate at HBCUs its considered a success to even be given a chance to try out for an NBA team. Johnson, who came to Southern after beginning his college career at a junior college, not only made it into the league inspite of not being drafted but also went on to play and win a championship with the Spurs in 1999.
“ He has earned everything he’s achieved. He earned that spot as the coach of the Mavericks. He was coached by the best, here at Southern under coach Ben Jobe, and he played with the NBA’s best. And he was an assistant under Don Nelson whose career goes back to the glory days of the Boston Celtics.” Said Lafleur
Now that he has helped the Mavericks advance to the Western Conferences Finals he has a chance to make even more history. If Dallas goes on to win this years NBA Championship it will be just the fourth time that a black head coach has won it, and the first since 1979.
Blacks that have won NBA Coach Of The Year
2006-Avery Johnson – Dallas Mavericks
2000-Doc Rivers – Orlando Magic
1994-Lenny Wilkens – Atlanta Hawks
1991-Don Chaney – Houston Rockets
1974- Ray Scott – Detroit Pistons
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com