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David Joerger

Dave Joerger
Memphis Grizzlies
Position Head coach
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1974-01-21) January 21, 1974 (age 42)
Career information
High school Staples-Motley (Staples, Minnesota)
College Concordia (Minnesota) (1993–1994)
Moorhead State (1996–1997)
Coaching career 1997–present
Career history
1997–2000 Dakota Wizards (asst.) (IBA)
2000–2004 Dakota Wizards (IBA, CBA)
2004 Cedar Rapids River Raiders (USBL)
2004–2006 Sioux Falls Skyforce (CBA)
2006–2007 Dakota Wizards (D-League)
2007–2013 Memphis Grizzlies (assistant)
2013–present Memphis Grizzlies
Career highlights and awards
  • IBA champion (2001)
  • 3x CBA champion (2002, 2004, 2005)
  • NBA D-League champion (2007)
  • 2x CBA Coach of the Year (2002, 2004)

David "Dave" Joerger (/ˈjɡər/ [YAY-ger])[1] (born January 21, 1974) is an American professional basketball coach who is currently the head coach for the Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was the head coach of the Dakota Wizards from 2000–2004 and 2006–2007 in the International Basketball Association, Continental Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League, winning championships in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2007. He also coached the Sioux Falls Skyforce from 2004–2006, winning a championship in 2005.

Early coaching career

After a playing career at Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota) and Moorhead State,[2] Joerger joined the Dakota Wizards of the International Basketball Association as the team's general manager.[3] He became the team's assistant coach in 1997 and eventually took over as the head coach for the 2000-2001 IBA season. Joerger had immediate success as a head coach, leading his team to a 30-10 regular season record. After being down 0-2 in the IBA Finals best-of-5 series, the Wizards came back to defeat the Des Moines Dragons 3-2, winning their first championship.[4]


File:Dave Joerger bobble-head.png
Dave Joerger bobble-heads were given out to the first 400 fans during a Dakota Wizards game in 2008

Joerger remained with the Wizards as IBA, IBL, and CBA teams merged to create the new Continental Basketball Association after the league declared bankruptcy under the ownership of Isiah Thomas. As a former IBA team, the Wizards were declared "lower-tier" in the 2001-2002 season and were given a shorter schedule with two other former IBA teams and an expansion team to make up the National Conference. With Joerger at the helm, the Wizards finished with a league-leading 26-14 record. For his success, Joerger was named the CBA Coach of the Year. After sweeping the Fargo-Moorhead Beez 3-0 in the conference finals, Joerger won his first CBA championship as his team defeated the Rockford Lightning 116-109 in a winner-take-all championship game.[5]

Joerger continued to have success with the Wizards in the CBA, reaching the conference finals with a league-leading 31-17 regular season record in 2002-2003 before losing to the Yakima Sun Kings 3-1.[6] Throughout the 2003-2004 season, Joerger lost six players to NBA call-ups, which included Sean Lampley, Oliver Miller, Kaniel Dickens, Maurice Carter, Eddie Gill, and Rodney Buford.[7] Despite losing talent, Joerger still managed to coach his team to a league-best 34-14 regular season record, and was again named the CBA Coach of the Year.[8] With Dickens and Carter back from the NBA, the Wizards defeated the Rockford Lightning 3-1 in the semi-finals and won their second CBA championship with a 132-129 victory over the Idaho Stampede.[9]

Following another championship season and a stint with the USBL's Cedar Rapids River Raiders,[10] Joerger left the Wizards for an opportunity to coach the Sioux Falls Skyforce. With the Skyforce, a franchise that had missed the play-offs the past few seasons, Joerger had immediate success, guiding them to a 31-17 record and faced off against the his former assistant, Casey Owens, and the Dakota Wizards in the conference finals. In 5 games, the Skyforce came out on top and went on to defeat the Rockford Lightning 3-1 for the 2004-2005 CBA championship.[11] In 2005-2006, despite going 2-0 in a round-robin playoff format based on quarter point percentage, Joerger missed out on just his second championship as a head coach after a 30-18 regular season.

CBA to D-League

In April 2006, the Skyforce, the Wizards, and the Idaho Stampede made the jump from the CBA to the NBA Development League.[12] In May, Joerger left the Skyforce and returned to the Wizards as the head coach once again. As expected, Joerger had immediate success in the D-League, guiding the Wizards to a league-best 33-17 record. After a first round bye, Joerger's team knocked off the Skyforce 115-113 in a one-and-done semi-final and went on to defeat the Colorado 14ers 129-121 in a classic overtime championship game.[13]

D-League to NBA

With five minor-league championships under his belt, the National Basketball Association finally took notice and Joerger was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach for the 2007-2008 season under head coach Marc Iavaroni. In 2011, under Lionel Hollins, Joerger was promoted to lead assistant and took over as the team's defense specialist. The Grizzlies improved in defensive efficiency from 24th overall in 2010 to 9th in 2011, 7th in 2012, and 2nd in 2013.[14]

On June 10, 2013, the Grizzlies organization announced that Lionel Hollins would not be returning as the team's head coach, despite reaching the conference finals for the first time in franchise history.[15] On June 27, 2013, Joerger was hired as the Grizzlies head coach for the 2013–14 season.[16]

In his first year, Joerger was named the Western Conference Coach of the Month for January and April.[17][18]

On May 28, 2014, it was announced that Joerger was signed to a 3-year contract extension.[19]

Coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
MEM 2013–14 82 50 32 .610 3rd in Southwest 7 3 4 .429 Lost in First Round
MEM 2014–15 82 55 27 .671 2nd in Southwest 11 6 5 .545 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Career 164 105 59 .640 18 9 9 .500


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