Gregg Popovich or Coach Pop, as he is fondly called, has been in the basketball coaching business since 1973. Since 1996, he has been serving as the head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. That length of years with the side makes him the longest-serving active coach not only in the NBA but also in every professional league sport in the country.
Pop has won the NBA Coach of the Year three times and the NBA Championships 5 times, all with Spurs. He has also never missed the playoffs. He was in 2015 named the head coach of the USA men’s national basketball team. With all of those feats and more, Coach Pop is easily one of the best coaches in the NBA.
Gregg Popovich Bio (Age and Background Details)
Coach Pop was born Gregg Charles Popovich on January 28, 1949, in East Chicago, Indiana. He is the son of a Serbian father named Raymond and a Croatian mother, Katherine. He has always loved football and began playing in middle school. When he was in the 5th grade, Pop relocated with his mother to Merrillville, a rural area in Indiana after his parents got divorced. He played basketball at Merrillville High School and after graduating in 1966, he continued at the United States Air Force Academy where he played for four years. He was the team’s captain in his senior year and also the leading scorer.
Pop graduated in 1970 with a degree in Soviet Studies. Additionally, he enrolled in Air Force intelligence training which would make him consider a CIA career, however, he stuck with basketball. After a period of playing with the Armed Forces Team which he captained, Pop began his coaching career with the team as an assistant in 1973. He coached college basketball before joining the NBA in 1988 as an assistant at Spurs. The rest is history.
Family – Wife, and Daughter
Gregg Popovich was married to Erin Popovich (nee Conboy) from 1976 until her death on April 18th, 2018. The basketball world was shocked by the tragic news of Erin’s passing which hit the news later in the day of her death. Condolences from fellow head coaches and players poured in while media outlets attempted to reflect on the almost 7 decades-long life that she lived.
Erin was born in 1951, making her 67 years old upon her death. When she was alive, Erin declined every invitation to grant interviews from as far back as the mid-1990s. She kept away from the spotlight as much as possible.
With the cause of her death revealed to be a result of an extensive ailment that began in the 1990s, it has now become obvious the reason why Erin shied away from media attention and hardly accompanied her husband to events that she should’ve. When her husband won his first NBA championship with the Spurs in 1999, Pop had to argue with security guards to let her and the kids join him on the Madison Square court to celebrate, ESPN Mag revealed in July 2012.
While the family didn’t officially reveal the details of the cause of death, San Antonio Express-News gave further details reporting that the illness involved her respiratory system.
Pop and Erin met during his college years at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. No, Erin didn’t attend the school, but her father Jim Conboy was the school’s athletic trainer. Also, her friendship with the dean General Robert F. McDermott’s daughter Betsy meant she visited the school regularly. Erin lost her dad in 1998, his 43-years of serving at the Academy had earned him a spot on the Air Force Academy Athletics Hall of Fame.
Though Erin’s health had not permitted her to make public appearances with her husband as she might have liked, she remained supportive of his career and was particularly interested in the way Pop handled his post-game interviews wanting him to be “less salty” with his words. Pop spoke about this during his appearance on 790 the Ticket, a Miami radio show in October 2012.
The couple’s over four-decades-long marriage produced two kids a son named Micky Popovich and a daughter Jill Popovich. The latter made the news in 2013 after Pop told the media that she helped him get over his 2013 NBA Finals loss to the Heats by pointing out to him that he’d won four already. Part of her candid words was: “…But poor Greggy can’t lose because he’s special. Can you please get over yourself?”
For one who handles tall people for a living, Gregg Popovich is not short himself, he stands at 1.88 m tall.