June 15, 2010
QUEENS, N.Y. - Steve Lavin's formidable basketball staff is nearing completion, as the St. John's head men's coach announced the addition of veteran mentor Mike Dunlap as the latest member of the Red Storm's bench as an assistant coach. Dunlap, who has built a reputation as one of professional and college basketball's leading strategists and on-court instructors, joins a group that is shaping up to be one of the country's elite hardwood staffs.
"I have known Mike Dunlap since I was a student-athlete at Chapman University, and over the past 25 years he has developed into one of the game's most-respected teachers," said Lavin. "Mike is a sound tactician with a deep understanding of the game and brings a wealth of experience to our staff. The addition of Coach Dunlap gives our program one of the most diverse and specialized coaching staffs in college basketball."
"It is an honor to be a part of St. John's University and its storied men's basketball program," said Dunlap. "It is also an honor to join Coach Lavin and his fine staff. I have known Steve and his family for more than 20 years, and I am committed to using my experience in basketball to help St. John's return to the NCAA Tournament and sustain the glory the program and its fanbase experienced throughout their histories."
Dunlap, 53, joins the St. John's basketball family after serving as the associate head coach on Pac-10 staffs during the last two seasons. Arizona went 21-14 in 2008-09, advancing to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 before ending the season with a loss to top-seed Louisville in the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal game, before Oregon posted a 16-16 record last season in 2009-10.
"I don't think Coach Lavin could have done better in selecting Mike Dunlap as an assistant coach. He is one of the outstanding minds in the game. His strengths are in organization and on-the-floor coaching, and he is a great addition to the staff at St. John's," said Lute Olson, the retired Arizona coach and owner of 46 NCAA Tournament wins. "With Coach Lavin's recruiting ability, I think that Mike will be the perfect complement to the program. I had known Mike for a long time before I hired him, and I have nothing but greatest amount of respect for him."
Prior to his appointments at Arizona and Oregon, Dunlap spent two seasons in the NBA, working for the Denver Nuggets under head coach George Karl. The Nuggets compiled a 95-69 (.579) record during his tenure and made two playoff appearances, including a 50-win season for the 2007-08 Denver squad, first for the organization in 23 seasons.
"Mike Dunlap absolutely elevates every player and team he comes into contact with," said Karl. "He is our guy. He will take you from good to great. Name any top-level, elite coach in the game - the only difference between Mike and them is their address. There is no higher level of coaching ability than his. There is absolutely no one better."
Before his time in the NBA, Dunlap was a two-time NCAA Division II national championship mentor (2000 and 2002) and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Coach of the Year (2000 and 2002) at Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colo., leading the Roadrunners to nine NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his nine seasons as head coach (1997-2006). Dunlap posted a 248-50 (.832) record en route to three NCAA Division II title game appearances, three North Central Regional championships, five Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) titles, two RMAC Coach of the Year awards and in the process, became Metro State's all-time winningest coach. Further contributing to his reputation as one of the finest teachers in the game while at Metro State, he was selected as an on-court coach for the Under-18 National Team trials for USA Basketball in May 2006, one year after serving in the same capacity at the 2005 USA Men's Under-22 National Team trials.
In 2003-04, Dunlap led Metro State to a school-record 30-consecutive victories, including a perfect 19-0 slate in RMAC play. It was the first time an RMAC team went undefeated in eight seasons. The Roadrunners led the nation in margin of victory (+28.1 ppg) and were third in scoring offense (93.4 ppg).
Metro State won its second national championship in 2002, defeating Kentucky Wesleyan, 80-72. Dunlap was named the NABC and the Bulletin Division II Coach of the Year. The squad posted a 29-6 record and finished second in the RMAC, but after a loss in the RMAC Tournament, the Roadrunners won six straight games to win the national title.
Dunlap's first national championship came in 2000, also a win over Kentucky Wesleyan, 97-79. The Roadrunners tied for the RMAC regular-season championship, won the RMAC Tournament title and went 33-4 after posting wins in their final 12 contests. The 33 wins is still a school record, and Dunlap was honored as the NABC National Coach of the Year and the RMAC Coach of the Year.
Prior to his tenure at Metro State, Dunlap served three seasons as the head coach of the Adelaide 36ers, a professional basketball team in Australia. The 36ers posted a 59-33 (.641) record during his tenure and advanced to the National Basketball League Final Four in 1995 and 1996 after appearing in the Grand Final in 1994.
Before arriving in Australia, Dunlap served five years as head coach at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He led his 1992, 1993 and 1994 teams to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) titles and appearances in the NCAA Division III national championship. The Kingsmen also advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1992 and 1994. The Kodak West District Coach of the Year in 1994, Dunlap was 80-54 (.597) in his five seasons, and his 1993-94 team was ranked No. 1 for two weeks during the year.
Early in his career, Dunlap also served as an assistant coach at the University of Southern California under the esteemed George Raveling, as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa, and he spent five years at Loyola Marymount University.
"What you need to know about Mike can be found on his coaching resume. There's national championships, and nationally ranked teams," said Raveling. "Within the coaching circle, he is looked upon as one of the next Coach Ks or Roy Williams or Calhouns. I don't know a better teacher or mentor than Mike. He is a walking encyclopedia of basketball knowledge."
Dunlap has had several articles published nationally, including, "Shooting: The Simple Approach (1990)," "The Free Throw" (1990), "Let Your Feet Do the Talking" (1989), "Motion Offense" (1987) and "Basic Framework for Achieving Academic Eligibility for Your Players" (1987).
A native of Fairbanks, Alaska, Dunlap earned an associate of arts degree in science from Pierce College in 1978, before attaining a bachelor's degree in English from Loyola Marymount University in 1980.
Dunlap and his wife, Mollie Busterud Dunlap, have three children: Holt (19), Spencer (17) and Ellie (14). An avid runner, Dunlap has a 100-mile race to his credit.