Aug. 12, 2009
The Minnesota Timberwolves Monday announced that Kurt Rambis and the team reached an agreement in principle to make Rambis the ninth head coach in the team's 20-year history. Rambis, a Santa Clara Hall of Fame Alum, was introduced at a Tuesday press conference.
"After a six-week search and thorough interview process, I feel that in Kurt Rambis we have found the best person to lead and develop our young team as head coach," Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn . "Kurt is talented and hard-working, and his many years in the NBA as a player, administrator and coach have prepared him well for this opportunity."
"This opportunity could not be passed up, and I wasn't going to let it pass up," Rambis said. "I did everything I possibly could to get this job, and I'm incredibly excited to be here. I left an incredible job in Los Angeles. That team has a chance to win several NBA championships. But this is an opportunity right now. When I weighed all the pros and cons, it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. The con being I had to buy some big winter coats because I have none."
Rambis, 51, will join the Wolves after serving as an assistant coach on Phil Jackson's Los Angeles Lakers staff for seven seasons (2001-04, 2005-09). As an assistant, Rambis helped guide the Los Angeles to four NBA Finals appearances (2002, 2004, 2008, 2009), with the Lakers winning the NBA Championship in 2002 and 2009. Rambis also served as an assistant coach on Del Harris' staff from 1994-98. Twelve games into the 1998-99 season, Rambis took over as the Lakers' interim head coach. He tied an NBA record with nine consecutive victories to start his head coaching career and compiled a 24-13 overall record, leading the team to the Western Conference Semifinals.
"Kurt has been the workhorse of my staff the past few years," LA head coach Phil Jackson said in a statement issued by the Lakers. "He's worked with the youth of our team, coming in early and staying late, to help players develop. Last season he took on the responsibility as the defensive coordinator, a valuable part of our championship run. We will miss him, but know this is his time to do what he's destined to do."
Rambis also served in the Lakers' front office in three different capacities. He served as advisor and assistant general manager from 1999-2001, and held the title of Vice President of Business and Basketball Integration during the 2004-05 season before rejoining Jackson's coaching staff midway through the campaign.
As a player, Rambis played 14 seasons in the NBA (1981-95), including nine seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers (1981-88, 1993-95), as well as stops in Charlotte, Phoenix and Sacramento. A member of the Los Angeles Lakers during the team's "Showtime" era, Rambis helped the club win four NBA titles (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988).
For his career, Rambis averaged 5.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 880 games. His best season, statistically, was 1988-89 with the expansion Charlotte Hornets when he averaged career highs with 11.1 points and 9.4 rebounds.
The Cupertino, Calif., native played college basketball at Santa Clara University, where he still ranks first in points (1,735) and second in rebounds (1,037). Rambis earned West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC) Freshman of the Years honors and was named the WCAC Player of the Year following his senior season.
His jersey was officially retired with the Broncos in Dec., 2008 when he and his family and friends were celebrated at half-time of the Belmont game during the first day of the 42nd annual Cable Car Classic.