Charlotte Observer: Mike Dunlap Is Bobcats' Choice For Head Coach
St. John's interim head coach Mike Dunlap directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game won 81-59 by Kentucky in Lexington, KY., Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. Photo: Charlotte Observer. St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap is the next Charlotte Bobcats coach, the Observer has learned. Dunlap, 54, is a former Denver Nuggets assistant who was acting head coach this season at St. John's while Steve Lavin was recovering from prostate cancer surgery. A source familiar with the process said Dunlap was offered the job Monday night, after interviewing in Charlotte with owner Michael Jordan, vice chairman Curtis Polk, president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho. He has accepted. Dunlap was one of 10 candidates interviewed since the Bobcats opened this search May 8, but the only one offered the job, the source confirmed. Dunlap will replace Paul Silas, who was not given a new contract following the season. So who is Dunlap and why was he hired as fifth coach in the Bobcats' nine-year existence? The Observer's source, who asked for anonymity because Dunlap's hire isn't official, said Dunlap impressed the front office with his high energy and collaborative approach. Also, he wants to run an up-tempo offense and attacking defense that figures to fit some of the Bobcats' younger personnel. Dunlap has spent most of his career at the college level, working for, among others, Lute Olson in Arizona. He essentially ran the St. John's program last season, both game days and off days, while Lavin recovered from surgery. There were far more prominent candidates, such as Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and former Supersonics and Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan. Various media reports, including one by the Observer, had the Bobcats narrowing their finalists to Sloan, Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder. Sloan removed his name from consideration last week, before a decision was made. Nuggets coach George Karl spoke glowingly of Dunlap in comments quoted this season on the St. John's athletic department web site. "Mike Dunlap absolutely elevates every player and team he comes in contact with,'' Karl said. "He takes you from good to great. Name every top-level, elite coach in the game - the only difference between Mike and them is their addressesThere is absolutely no one better.'' Before joining Karl's staff, Dunlap was a Division II head coach at Metropolitan State College, also in Denver. He coached that program to two national championships and nine straight appearances in that level's NCAA tournament. Dunlap is married with three children. Copyright 2012 The Charlotte Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.