PHOENIX - Staples High School graduate David Joerger, an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, will be the head coach Friday night when the NBA team plays the Phoenix Suns.
Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins and assistant Johnny Davis will not be with the team Friday because they will be in Portland, paying their respects to former teammate Maurice Lucas, who died Sunday at age 58 after a battle with bladder cancer.
Hollins and Davis teamed with Lucas on the 1977 NBA champion Portland Trail Blazers.
Joerger is in his third season on the Memphis bench. He coached the Grizzlies' summer league squad to a 5-0 record in the 2009 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Before earning his first NBA assistant coaching job with the Grizzlies, Joerger was one of the most successful minor league basketball coaches in history as head coach of the 2006-07 NBA D-League champion Dakota Wizards.
He became just the sixth head coach, 15th overall, in D-League history to join the NBA coaching ranks.
The title with the Wizards was the fifth he has won as a head coach. He also won one International Basketball Association title and three Continental Basketball Association championships, along with two CBA coach of the year honors and a 232-117 (.665) head coaching record.
After his playing career at Moorhead State, Joerger got his start as the Wizards' general manager when they were members of the IBA. He received his first opportunity as an assistant coach during the 1997-98 season.
After three years as an assistant, Joerger became head coach and led the Wizards to their first championship during the 2000-01 season. Before the 2001-02 season, the Wizards moved to the CBA where Joerger led them to another title.
Joerger captured his third title in four years after the Wizards defeated the Idaho Stampede to win the 2003-04 CBA championship.
During the summer of 2004, Joerger moved to Sioux Falls to become head coach of the Skyforce. He proceeded to win his fourth CBA championship, giving him more minor league championships than former minor league coaches Phil Jackson, Flip Saunders, George Karl and Eric Musselman - combined.
Eighteen of Joerger's players were called up to the NBA from 2003-07.
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