Gregg Popovich, who guided the San Antonio Spurs to the best record in the Western Conference, has been voted the NBA’s Coach of the Year, the league announced Tuesday.
It is the second Red Auerbach trophy for Popovich, who also won in 2003. He received 77 first-place votes and 467 points from a 119-member media panel, easily outdistancing Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls, who won last year.
Despite a compressed schedule shortened to 66 games by the lockout, the Spurs went 50-16 to reach 50 wins for the 13th consecutive season – all under Popovich – to set an NBA record.
They did so despite playing without injured star guard Manu Ginobili for extended stretches and resting fellow veterans stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker throughout the season.
San Antonio had three winning streaks of at least 10 games. Once a dominant defensive team, the Spurs were second in offense (103.7 ppg) and point differential (7.2).
Popovich relied heavily on his younger role players such as DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal, Danny Green and rookie Kawhi Leonard. He was named Western Conference Coach of the Month in February and March.
Thibodeau received 27 first-place votes and 315 points, directing the Bulls to a 50-16 mark despite playing 27 games without reigning MVP Derrick Rose.
Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers was third with seven firsts and 161 points, followed by Lionel Hollins of the memphis Grizzlies with six firsts and 50 points and Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics with one first and 26 points.
Ten other coaches received at least one second- or third-place vote. Here are the vote totals. (This site cast its vote for Thibodeau).
2011-12 NBA COACH OF THE YEAR RESULTS
Coach, Team 1st 2nd 3rd Pts
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio 77 24 10 467
Tom Thibodeau, Chicago 27 53 21 315
Frank Vogel, Indiana 7 27 45 161
Lionel Hollins, Memphis 6 3 11 50
Doc Rivers, Boston 1 4 9 26
Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City 0 2 3 9
Tyrone Corbin, Utah 0 1 6 9
George Karl, Denver 1 0 2 7
Mike Brown, L.A. Lakers 0 1 1 4
Stan Van Gundy, Orlando 0 1 1 4
Larry Drew, Atlanta 0 0 3 3
Monty Williams, New Orleans 0 1 0 3
Vinny Del Negro, L.A. Clippers 0 0 2 2
Kevin McHale, Houston 0 0 2 2
Alvin Gentry, Phoenix 0 0 1 1