All the numerous long charter bus trips, crammed economy flights, and overnight stays in small town hotels, must have been worth it now for Dave Joerger. The five-time minor league champion and two-time CBA Coach of the Year will finally get the opportunity to be a head coach in the NBA. Joerger has found success as a head coach in various leagues throughout his career, and now the former Moorehead State player and defensive guru, will look do so at the helm in Memphis.
The Grizzlies will reportedly announce the promotion of Joerger Thursday morning according to sources of CBSsports.com's Ken Berger.
New Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger will be introduced in a news conference on Thursday morning, sources say.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) June 25, 2013
Joerger has worked long and hard to position himself well enough to earn a head coaching gig in the NBA. He has worked tirelessly in the IBA, CBA, and NBADL, on his way to finding a spot with the Grizzlies in 2007, as an assistant coach under Marc Iavaroni. Joerger joins Sam Vincent (2007-2008 Charlotte Bobcats) as the only two coaches who have assumed a head coaching position in the NBA after being a head coach in the NBA D-League. Due to his extensive background at levels that are focused on player development and winning, Joerger will bring a unique skill set and understanding to the sidelines of the NBA.
Before the 2010-2011 season, former head coach Lionel Hollins assigned Joerger to take over the defensive responsibilities with the team, and as a result the Grizzlies went from 9th overall to 2nd overall this past season. Joerger's ability to understand the intricacies of a successful defensive strategy in the NBA, will allow him to prosper in Memphis. As the roster stands, Joerger will be able to capitalize on many of the Grizzlies' defensive minded players who helped guide the club to the Western Conference Finals this past season.
Among his peers, Joerger is incredibly well-respected. In fact, his climb to the top of the proverbial coaching ladder, has allowed Joerger to work alongside many different coaches and front office personnel stemming from his minor league days. Those type of connections will benefit Joerger as he continues along his coaching path in the NBA.
The accomplishments in which Joerger has been able to achieve can give us a peek at a possible trend that may continue in the NBA. As more teams realize the benefits in developing coaching staffs through avenues such as the NBA D-League, and their direct affiliates, future hires similar to Joerger could take place. Future coaching candidates such as Joerger, can be more cost efficient hires, and also understand the system and organization better if teams utilize their minor league affiliates in this fashion.
Joerger is 39-years-old, and also fits into the "younger" coach category of the NBA. As witnessed by the success of Erik Spoelstra (42) in Miami, younger and perhaps a different background is the right formula for winning in today's NBA.
The hire of Joerger as a head coach is a breath of fresh air, and it will hopefully provide insight for other organizations to value the experience of coaching in the minor leagues. Joerger's commitment and patience as witnessed by his numerous seasons spent as an assistant should not be overlooked as well.
Joerger has set the bar extremely high for others to follow in his footsteps, but those who decide to follow a path similar to Joerger's, can now have faith in knowing that their efforts and hard work will not go unnoticed.