Don Nelson, the second-winningest coach in NBA history, spent six full seasons - and parts of two others - as the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, punctuated by four consecutive 50-win campaigns from 2000-2001 to 2003-2004 (53, 57, 60, 52). He resigned as head coach of the Mavericks 64 games into the 2004-2005 season (42-22) on March 19, 2005 and served as a consultant with Dallas from that point on until being rehired by the Golden State Warriors. Overall, he guided the Mavericks to a 339-251 mark in 590 regular season games (.575) and four post-season appearances.
Born on May 15, 1940, in Muskegon, Michigan, Don Arvid Nelson was a two-time All-American at the University of Iowa, where he graduated in 1962.
In 14 seasons as an NBA player, Nelson averaged 10.3 ppg on 48.0% shooting with 4.9 rpg in 1,053 contests. He was drafted by the Chicago Zephyrs in 1962 (19th overall) and played one season before his contract was sold to the Los Angeles Lakers. After two seasons in L.A. he was waived and signed as a free agent by the Boston Celtics in October, 1965. In 11 seasons with the Celtics, he was a member of five NBA Championship teams (1966, 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1976). His retired uniform #19, honoring his career as one of the games greatest sixth men, was raised to the Boston Garden rafters in 1978.
Among his many honors, Nelson was named one of the top-10 coaches in NBA history by a panel of former coaches, players during the league's 50th anniversary season in 1997. He also coached Dream Team II to a gold medal at the 1994 World Championships in Toronto. One of only two coaches in league history (joining Pat Riley) to earn NBA Coach of the Year honors on three different occasions (1983 and 1985 with Milwaukee, 1992 with Golden State), Nelson has enjoyed coaching stints in four NBA cities, including Milwaukee (1976-1987), Golden State (1988-1995) and (2005-2009), New York (1995-96) and Dallas (1997-2005). He is one of only two coaches in league annals (joining Wilkens) to register 250-plus victories with three different teams, having accomplished the feat in Milwaukee (540), Golden State (277) and Dallas (339). Nelson's teams have registered 50-or-more wins in 13 of his 31 seasons as a head coach, placing him third on the all-times list of 50-win campaigns, trailing only Pat Riley (17). He has led his teams to 18 playoff appearances and ranks 10th on the NBA's all-time playoff winning list with 75 post-season victories. His 2,070 games as a head coach trails only Wilkens (2,487), while his .575 winning percentage ranks 20th all-time among NBA skippers.