Kerr changed fortunes of long-suffering Warriors

Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:19am EDT
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Steve Kerr, who last season became the first rookie head coach in 33 years to win an NBA title, has quickly transformed a Golden State Warriors team that was once a laughingstock into one that could dominate for years to come.

Players on the Warriors' roster have bought into Kerr's system and as a result set a single-season record by earning their 73rd victory on the final day of the NBA's 82-game regular season on Wednesday.

Kerr, a 50-year-old former NBA player who was born in Beirut and spent much of his childhood in Lebanon, might never have enjoyed such early success as a coach had he not reconsidered an interview request from the Warriors.

A five-time NBA champion as a player, Kerr initially declined a meeting with Golden State since he was already in discussions with the long-suffering New York Knicks.

But for Kerr, whose children attend school in California, there was a certain allure to the Oakland-based Warriors, so he contacted them to see if they still had interest.

Kerr had no coaching experience before joining Golden State two years ago but has remarkably managed to change the culture and charisma of a franchise that are suddenly the envy of the basketball world.

Gone are the days when horrible front office management, disastrous player personnel decisions and a revolving door of head coaches led the team into the abyss of constant struggle.

The man behind that turnaround is Kerr, the most accurate three-point shooter in league history and the player who drained the championship-winning shot off a feed from Michael Jordan in the decisive game of the 1997 NBA Finals.   Continued...

March 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr instructs his team against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena.  Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports