Jan 6, 1995: Lenny Wilkens Becomes NBA’s Winningest Coach

wilkensJan 6, 1995:  Lenny Wilkens Becomes NBA’s Winningest Coach

On January 6, 1995, Lenny Wilkens’ Atlanta Hawks beat the Washington Bullets 112-90 giving him his 939th win which put him ahead of Red Auerbach as the all-time leader in career wins.  Wilkins would coach another ten years and end up with 1,332 wins.

In 2010, Don Nelson surpassed him and retired with 1,335 wins, although Wilkens has coached the most games.  Acive or recently active coaches in striking range include George Karl (1,131), Rick Adelman (1,042) and Greg Popovich (988).


Wilkens:  Hall of Fame Player

Prior to coaching, Wilkens had a stellar career as a player.

An All-American at Providence College, he led the 14th ranked Friars to the NIT Finals in 1960 and was tournament MVP.

He was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks as the 6th pick in the draft and would have a Hall-of-Fame career playing for St. Louis, Seattle, Cleveland and Portland.

Wilkens averaged 16.5 points and 6.7 assists per game.  He is 12th all-time in assists and was a 9 time NBA All-Star.  He came in second to Wilt Chamberlain as league MVP in 1968 when he average 20 points and 8.3 assists per game for St. Louis.

Wilkens was a player/coach during the last five years of his playing career.

Wilkens: Hall of Fame Coach

Wilkens is one of three players to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach (the other two being John Wooden and Bill Sharman), joining the Hall in 1989 as a player and 1998 as a coach. He was inducted for a third time in 2010 as a member of the 1992 “Dream Team” (assistant coach).

Wilkens is the only person named to the NBA 50th anniversary team that was also named among the top 10 coaches . He went to the playoffs in 20 of his 35 years as coach.  He won an NBA Championship with Seattle in 1979. was Coach of the Year with Atlanta in 1994 and also coached in Portland, Cleveland, Toronto and New York.

In 1996 he coached the Dream Team II to Gold at the Olympics in Atlanta.


Stats: The Player


Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1960-61 23 STL NBA PG 75 25.3 4.4 10.4 .425 4.4 10.4 .425 2.9 4.0 .713 4.5 2.8 2.9 11.7
1961-62 24 STL NBA PG 20 43.5 7.0 18.2 .385 7.0 18.2 .385 4.2 5.5 .764 6.6 5.8 3.2 18.2
1962-63 ★ 25 STL NBA PG 75 34.3 4.4 11.1 .399 4.4 11.1 .399 3.0 4.3 .696 5.4 5.1 3.4 11.8
1963-64 ★ 26 STL NBA PG 78 32.4 4.3 10.4 .413 4.3 10.4 .413 3.5 4.7 .740 4.3 4.6 3.7 12.0
1964-65 ★ 27 STL NBA PG 78 36.6 5.6 13.4 .414 5.6 13.4 .414 5.3 7.2 .746 4.7 5.5 3.6 16.5
1965-66 28 STL NBA PG 69 39.0 6.0 13.8 .431 6.0 13.8 .431 6.1 7.7 .793 4.7 6.2 3.6 18.0
1966-67 ★ 29 STL NBA PG 78 38.1 5.7 13.3 .432 5.7 13.3 .432 5.9 7.5 .787 5.3 5.7 3.6 17.4
1967-68 ★ 30 STL NBA PG 82 38.6 6.7 15.2 .438 6.7 15.2 .438 6.7 8.7 .768 5.3 8.3 3.1 20.0
1968-69 ★ 31 SEA NBA PG 82 42.2 7.9 17.8 .440 7.9 17.8 .440 6.7 8.7 .770 6.2 8.2 3.6 22.4
1969-70 ★ 32 SEA NBA PG 75 37.4 6.0 14.2 .420 6.0 14.2 .420 5.8 7.4 .788 5.0 9.1 2.8 17.8
1970-71 ★ 33 SEA NBA PG 71 37.2 6.6 15.8 .419 6.6 15.8 .419 6.5 8.1 .803 4.5 9.2 2.8 19.8
1971-72 34 SEA NBA PG 80 37.4 6.0 12.8 .466 6.0 12.8 .466 6.0 7.8 .774 4.2 9.6 2.6 18.0
1972-73 ★ 35 CLE NBA PG 75 39.6 7.6 17.0 .449 7.6 17.0 .449 5.3 6.3 .828 4.6 8.4 2.9 20.5
1973-74 36 CLE NBA PG 74 33.6 6.2 13.4 .465 6.2 13.4 .465 3.9 4.9 .801 1.1 2.7 3.7 7.1 1.3 0.2 2.2 16.4
1974-75 37 POR NBA PG 65 17.9 2.1 4.7 .439 2.1 4.7 .439 2.3 3.0 .768 0.6 1.3 1.8 3.6 1.2 0.1 1.5 6.5
Career NBA 1077 35.3 5.7 13.3 .432 5.7 13.3 .432 5.0 6.5 .774 0.8 2.0 4.7 6.7 1.3 0.2 3.1 16.5
8 seasons STL NBA 555 35.2 5.4 12.7 .421 5.4 12.7 .421 4.7 6.3 .757 4.9 5.5 3.4 15.5
4 seasons SEA NBA 308 38.6 6.6 15.2 .436 6.6 15.2 .436 6.3 8.0 .783 5.0 9.0 3.0 19.5
2 seasons CLE NBA 149 36.6 6.9 15.2 .456 6.9 15.2 .456 4.6 5.6 .816 1.1 2.7 4.2 7.7 1.3 0.2 2.6 18.5
1 season POR NBA 65 17.9 2.1 4.7 .439 2.1 4.7 .439 2.3 3.0 .768 0.6 1.3 1.8 3.6 1.2 0.1 1.5 6.5
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2015.

Stats: The Coach

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Age Tm G W L W/L% Finish G W L W/L% Notes
1969-70 32 SEA 82 36 46 .439 5
1970-71 33 SEA 82 38 44 .463 4
1971-72 34 SEA 82 47 35 .573 3
1974-75 37 POR 82 38 44 .463 3
1975-76 38 POR 82 37 45 .451 5
1977-78 40 SEA 60 42 18 .700 3 22 13 9 .591 WC Champions
1978-79 41 SEA 82 52 30 .634 1 17 12 5 .706 NBA Champions
1979-80 42 SEA 82 56 26 .683 2 15 7 8 .467
1980-81 43 SEA 82 34 48 .415 6
1981-82 44 SEA 82 52 30 .634 2 8 3 5 .375
1982-83 45 SEA 82 48 34 .585 3 2 0 2 .000
1983-84 46 SEA 82 42 40 .512 3 5 2 3 .400
1984-85 47 SEA 82 31 51 .378 4
1986-87 49 CLE 82 31 51 .378 6
1987-88 50 CLE 82 42 40 .512 5 5 2 3 .400
1988-89 51 CLE 82 57 25 .695 2 5 2 3 .400
1989-90 52 CLE 82 42 40 .512 4 5 2 3 .400
1990-91 53 CLE 82 33 49 .402 6
1991-92 54 CLE 82 57 25 .695 2 17 9 8 .529
1992-93 55 CLE 82 54 28 .659 2 9 3 6 .333
1993-94 56 ATL 82 57 25 .695 1 11 5 6 .455
1994-95 57 ATL 82 42 40 .512 5 3 0 3 .000
1995-96 58 ATL 82 46 36 .561 4 10 4 6 .400
1996-97 59 ATL 82 56 26 .683 2 10 4 6 .400
1997-98 60 ATL 82 50 32 .610 4 4 1 3 .250
1998-99 61 ATL 50 31 19 .620 2 9 3 6 .333
1999-00 62 ATL 82 28 54 .341 7
2000-01 63 TOR 82 47 35 .573 2 12 6 6 .500
2001-02 64 TOR 82 42 40 .512 3 5 2 3 .400
2002-03 65 TOR 82 24 58 .293 7
2003-04 66 NYK 42 23 19 .548 3 4 0 4 .000
2004-05 67 NYK 39 17 22 .436 5
Career 2487 1332 1155 .536 178 80 98 .449
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/6/2015.
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