Jeff Van Gundy
Van Gundy with the Houston Rockets in 2006
Boston Celtics
PositionSenior consultant
Personal information
Born (1962-01-19) January 19, 1962 (age 62)
Hemet, California, U.S.
Career information
High schoolBrockport Central
(Brockport, New York)
PositionPoint guard
Coaching career1985–2007
Career history
As coach:
1985–1986McQuaid Jesuit HS
19861988Providence (assistant)
1988–1989Rutgers (assistant)
19891996New York Knicks (assistant)
19962001New York Knicks
20032007Houston Rockets
Career highlights and awards
As coach:
Men's basketball
Head Coach for  United States
FIBA AmeriCup
Gold medal – first place 2017 Argentina

Jeffrey William Van Gundy (born January 19, 1962) is an American commentator and former basketball coach. He served as head coach of the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). During his tenure on the Knicks, he led the team to the 1999 NBA Finals, where they ultimately lost to the San Antonio Spurs. He currently serves as a senior consultant in the Boston Celtics front office.

Early life

Van Gundy was born in Hemet, California, and grew up in the town of Martinez, California.[1] He is the son of a basketball coach, Bill Van Gundy, the former head coach at SUNY Brockport and at Genesee Community College.[2] Jeff's elder brother, Stan, later became head coach of the NBA's Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and the New Orleans Pelicans, and is the former head coach and director of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons.[3]

As a high-school point guard, Van Gundy was a two-time All Greater Rochester selection in 1979 and 1980, leading Brockport Central to the Class AA finals. He continued his basketball playing career at Nazareth University, where he earned All-American honors, while leading the Golden Flyers to an NCAA Division III Tournament berth in 1984. He remains the Nazareth career leader in free throw percentage, at 86.8%.[4]

Van Gundy attended Yale University, where he was a classmate with Jodie Foster, before transferring to Menlo College, and ultimately graduating from New York's Nazareth University, in 1985.[5]

Coaching career

Early career

Van Gundy began his basketball coaching career during the 1985–86 season, at McQuaid Jesuit High School, in Rochester, New York. The following year, he became a graduate assistant under head coach Rick Pitino, at Providence College, helping the Providence Friars advance to the Final Four. In his second season with the Friars, he was promoted to assistant coach under Gordon Chiesa. The next season, Van Gundy became an assistant coach under Bob Wenzel, at Rutgers.

New York Knicks

On July 28, 1989, Van Gundy became an assistant coach for the New York Knicks. He spent the next six-and-a-half seasons providing support to Knicks head coaches Stu Jackson (1989–1990), John MacLeod (1990–1991), Pat Riley (1991–1995), and Don Nelson (1995–1996). During his tenure as an assistant coach, the Knicks won three Atlantic Division titles, never finished lower than third in the division, and qualified for the playoffs every year. The Knicks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 1993, and the NBA Finals versus the Houston Rockets in 1994.[6]

On March 8, 1996, Van Gundy was named head coach of the New York Knicks, taking over the reins from Don Nelson.[7] In his second game as head coach, he notably led the Knicks to a 32–point blowout win over the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, who had eliminated the Knicks from the playoffs four times since 1989.[8] However, Van Gundy was unable to change that trend in the postseason, as the Knicks fell to Chicago in the conference semifinals.

In his first full season as head coach, the Knicks tied for the third-best record in franchise history, at 57–25.[9] In the regular season finale, the Knicks defeated the 69–12 Chicago Bulls in Chicago, preventing them from posting two consecutive 70-win seasons in a row, and tying the best home record in NBA history.[10] Van Gundy created a memorable scene in the 1998 NBA Playoffs series between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat. When the Heat's 6'10" (2.08 m), 240 lb. (109 kg) center Alonzo Mourning,[11] and the Knicks' 6'7" (2.01 m),[12] 250 lb. (113 kg) power forward Larry Johnson,[13] engaged in a bench-clearing brawl, Van Gundy unsuccessfully tried to break the fight up. Most memorably, the 5'9" (1.75 m), 165 lb. (75 kg) Van Gundy[14] fell to the floor, and clung to Mourning's leg.[15]

In the lockout–shortened 1998–99 season, the Knicks struggled with injuries (namely to all-star Patrick Ewing) and finished 27–23 to finish as the eighth seed for the playoffs (they had to win six of their remaining eight games just to qualify).[16] In the first round of the playoffs, the Knicks defied expectations and defeated the Heat in five games, avenging the previous season's playoff loss and becoming just the second 8th seed to defeat the number one seed in the playoffs. The win propelled an improbable run for the Knicks, as they swept the Hawks in the semifinals, and defeated the Pacers in six games, to advance to the NBA Finals. Without Ewing, they were no match in the Finals against the Spurs, and lost the series in five games. The Knicks were the first eighth-seeded team in NBA history to reach the NBA Finals.

The Knicks followed up their Finals run with a 50–32 season, and advanced to the Conference finals, where they were defeated by the Indiana Pacers. Until the 2013 playoffs, this was the last time the Knicks won a playoff series.

In a 2001 game between the Spurs and Knicks, Danny Ferry elbowed Marcus Camby. While talking to the referee, Camby lost control and tried to punch Ferry. Camby missed and hit Van Gundy instead, who said he learned his lesson about trying to break up fights between players.[17] The Knicks finished 48–34, but lost in the first round to the Raptors.

Just 19 games into the 2001–02 season, Van Gundy resigned from the Knicks' head coach position.[18] The move was unexpected, as the Knicks were on a winning streak, and coming off a 14–point victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.[19]

Houston Rockets

On June 10, 2003, Van Gundy was named head coach of the Houston Rockets, replacing Rudy Tomjanovich.[20] In his first season as the team's head coach, the Rockets finished with a 45–37 record, and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in five years, but they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers.

In his second season with the Rockets, Van Gundy guided the team, led by the Yao Ming / Tracy McGrady duo, to a 51–31 record, which was their first season with more than 50 wins in eight years. The Rockets once again lost in the first round of the playoffs, this time to the Dallas Mavericks.

McGrady and Yao missed a combined 70 games due to injury in the 2005–06 season, and Van Gundy did not make the playoffs for the first time in his NBA head coaching career. In May 2005, Van Gundy was fined $100,000 by the NBA, for accusing referees of targeting Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. Van Gundy blamed Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for causing the referees' alleged bias. This is the largest fine handed down to a coach in NBA history.[21]

The injuries and disappointments continued for the Rockets into the following season, with injuries limiting Yao to just 48 games played, and McGrady also not fully recovered from his injuries. The Rockets went on a late season run, on the back of a resurgence from McGrady, but another first round playoff loss, this time to the Utah Jazz, sealed Van Gundy's fate as the team's head coach. At the conclusion of their decisive Game 7 loss in the first round of the playoffs, Van Gundy was fired, and then replaced by Rick Adelman.

National team career

In July 2017, it was announced that Van Gundy would be the head coach of the senior United States men's national basketball team at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup tournament, and in the qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. USA head coach Gregg Popovich would then resume coaching the team at the World Cup, and at the 2020 Summer Olympics, should they qualify for either. Team USA became Van Gundy's first coaching job since leaving the Rockets in 2007.[22]

Van Gundy went on to guide the US to the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup, and also to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.[23]

Broadcasting career

Following his firing from the Houston Rockets in 2007, Van Gundy was a guest analyst for ESPN's broadcast of the Phoenix Suns-San Antonio Spurs game in San Antonio, Texas, and he became a regular broadcast member for ESPN.[24] He called games as a color commentator with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and Mark Jackson, including the NBA Finals.[25] He missed Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals due to COVID-19 protocols, leaving behind Mark Jones, Mark Jackson, and Lisa Salters.[26] Both Van Gundy and Jackson were let go by ESPN/ABC amid a wave of layoffs at the network in June and July 2023.[27][28][29] As a result, Doc Rivers and Doris Burke replace the pair on the lead broadcast team.[30][31][32]

Front office career

On October 14, 2023, the Boston Celtics announced that Van Gundy had joined the team as a senior consultant to the basketball operations division.[33]

Life outside basketball

Van Gundy's older brother is Stan Van Gundy.

On May 8, 2011, Van Gundy received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, from his alma mater, Nazareth University, during the college's 84th Annual Commencement Ceremony.[34]

NBA head coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
New York 1995–96 23 13 10 .565 2nd in Atlantic 8 4 4 .500 Lost in Conference semifinals
New York 1996–97 82 57 25 .695 2nd in Atlantic 10 6 4 .600 Lost in Conference semifinals
New York 1997–98 82 43 39 .524 2nd in Atlantic 10 4 6 .400 Lost in Conference semifinals
New York 1998–99 50 27 23 .540 4th in Atlantic 20 12 8 .600 Lost in NBA Finals
New York 1999–00 82 50 32 .610 2nd in Atlantic 16 9 7 .563 Lost in Conference finals
New York 2000–01 82 48 34 .585 3rd in Atlantic 5 2 3 .400 Lost in first round
New York 2001–02 19 10 9 .526 (resigned)
Houston 2003–04 82 45 37 .549 5th in Midwest 5 1 4 .200 Lost in first round
Houston 2004–05 82 51 31 .622 3rd in Southwest 7 3 4 .429 Lost in first round
Houston 2005–06 82 34 48 .415 5th in Southwest Missed playoffs
Houston 2006–07 82 52 30 .634 3rd in Southwest 7 3 4 .429 Lost in first round
Career 748 430 318 .575   88 44 44 .500  


  1. ^ From the archives: The Van Gundys love this game.
  2. ^ Coaching Van Gundy brothers honor their proud father,; accessed January 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Detroit Pistons Name Stan Van Gundy Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations.
  4. ^ "Hoop Dream : a Q & A with Jeff Van Gundy". Nazareth University. Nazareth University.
  5. ^ Berkow, Ira (April 21, 1997). "From a Scouting Assignment at Age 10, Van Gundy Has Risen to the Top". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Jeff Van Gundy profile Archived 2007-11-03 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed January 4, 2016.
  7. ^ Van's the Man -- Relieved to be rid of Don Nelson, the Knicks blew away the Bulls for new coach Jeff Van Gundy
  8. ^ New York Nightmare: Knicks 104, Bulls 72
  9. ^ "New York Knickerbockers Franchise Index". Basketball-Reference. Archived from the original on April 24, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  10. ^ Brown, Clifton (April 20, 1997). "When a Knick Victory Is Not Just a Victory". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  11. ^ Alonzo Mourning stats
  12. ^ #2 Larry Johnson HT 6-7.
  13. ^ Larry Johnson stats
  14. ^ Jeff Van Gundy stats
  15. ^ "In Aftermath of Fight, Van Gundy Becomes the Little Big Coach",, May 3, 1998.
  16. ^ PRO BASKETBALL; Sprewell Carries On, Even With Ewing In.
  17. ^ Van Gundy hit by Marcus Camby,; accessed January 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Van Gundy quits; Chaney reportedly will finish season
  19. ^ Resigning After 19 Games, Van Gundy Shocks the Knicks
  20. ^ "PRO BASKETBALL; Van Gundy Accepts Job As Coach of the Rockets (Published 2003)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 28, 2022.
  21. ^ "Van Gundy Runs Afoul of League and Pays a Price",, May 3, 2005; accessed January 4, 2016.
  22. ^ "Jeff Van Gundy". USA Basketball. July 5, 2017. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  23. ^ After accomplishing their World Cup mission, the USA sigh in relief.
  24. ^ Spurs-Cavs match up isn't main attraction
  25. ^ Joseph, Adi (May 31, 2017). "Mike Breen knows he can't control Jeff Van Gundy, and ABC's 'point guard' doesn't want to". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  26. ^ Contes, Brandon (June 2, 2022). "Jeff Van Gundy and Adrian Wojnarowski to miss Game 1 of the NBA Finals between Celtics and Warriors after positive COVID tests". Awful Announcing. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  27. ^ Sherman, Alex (June 30, 2023). "ESPN lays off about 20 on-air personalities including NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Jalen Rose". CNBC. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  28. ^ Fahy, Claire (June 30, 2023). "ESPN Announces Layoffs of On-Air Personalities to Cut Costs". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  29. ^ Tapp, Tom (July 31, 2023). "NBA Announcer Mark Jackson Confirms ESPN Exit: "I Was Told My Services Were No Longer Needed"". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 1, 2023.
  30. ^ Cite error: The named reference BurkeNo1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  31. ^ Cite error: The named reference BurkeRivers was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  32. ^ Tapp, Tom (August 14, 2023). "ESPN Revamps No. 1 On-Air NBA Announcing Team & Sets Up History-Making Finals Run For Doris Burke". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  33. ^ "Celtics hire Jeff Van Gundy as senior consultant". October 14, 2023. Retrieved November 3, 2023.
  34. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 30, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)