Paul Westphal joins the Sacramento Kings for the 2009-10 season and brings 25 years of coaching experience at both the professional and collegiate levels to the Kings bench. He spent last season (2008-09) as the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks after spending the previous campaign as an assistant coach for the Mavericks (2007-08).
Westphal’s NBA coaching experience began nearly five years after his career as a player in the league ended. In 1988, after coaching for one season at Phoenix’s Southwestern Baptist Bible College and two seasons at Grand Canyon College, Westphal joined the Suns’ bench as an assistant coach. Four years later, in 1992, the California native became the franchise’s head coach. As head coach, he led the Suns to three of their most successful seasons. In 1992-93, the Suns clinched the Pacific Division title, won a franchise-record 62 games and made their second appearance in the NBA Finals. In 1995, Westphal became the second-fastest coach to reach 150 wins, accomplishing the feat in just 208 games and just five shy of the mark set by Phil Jackson. The Suns surpassed the 55-win mark in each of Westphal’s three seasons.
Westphal remained in Phoenix as the assistant coach to Terry Kearney at Chaparral High School to see his son, Michael, to graduation. He returned to the NBA coaching ranks in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, leading the Sonics to a 25-25 record. The following season, Seattle posted a 45-37 record and made the playoffs, losing 4-1 to the Utah Jazz in a first round series.
Overall, Westphal’s NBA head coaching record stands at 267-159, and his .627 winning percentage ranks among the league’s best.
Prior to joining the Mavericks, Westphal served as the head men’s basketball coach at Pepperdine University from 2001 to 2006. During his five seasons at Pepperdine, Westphal guided the Waves to an overall 76-72 mark (.514), including a 38-32 (.543) record in West Coast Conference (WCC) play. During the 2001-02 season, the Waves enjoyed a 22-9 record, a share of the WCC title and an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Westphal began his NBA career when he was a first round (10th overall pick) draft choice of the Boston Celtics in the 1972 NBA Draft after graduating from USC. His career spanned 12 seasons,which included stints with Boston, Phoenix, New York and Seattle. He earned a 1974 championship ring with the Celtics and played for Phoenix in the 1976 NBA Finals.
A five-time All-Star, Westphal’s career ended with Phoenix in 1983 after he scored 12,809 points(15.6 ppg), grabbed 1,580 rebounds (1.9 rpg), delivered 3,591 assists (4.4 apg) and came up with 1,022 steals (1.2 spg) in 823 career games. Westphal scored 9,564 points as a member of the Suns and his No. 44 jersey was retired by the franchise on April 15, 1989.