Mike Brnow was honored as the NBA's coach of the year yesterday after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their greatest regular season.
He guided the club to a franchise-record 66 wins, a second Central Division title and the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason. Cleveland leads the Detroit Pistons 1-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
Preaching trust to his players since training camp, Brown has created a tightly knit team led by superstar LeBron James. The 38-year-old coach also has given more authority to his assistants, a sign of his maturity as a coach and confidence as a leader.
Brown joined the Cavs in 2005 after two seasons as an assistant with Indiana. Bill Fitch in 1976 is the only other Cleveland coach to win the coaching award.
Brown received 55 first-place votes and earned 355 total points from a panel of 122 sports writers and broadcasters. Houston's Rick Adelman finished second with 151 points and Orlando's Stan Van Gundy was third with 150.
New Orleans coach Byron Scott won the award last year.
Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert called Brown a "natural leader" and credited him with much of his team's success.
"Mike Brown is one of these rare people that has nearly every tool in his tool box," Gilbert said in a statement. "He is smart, hard working, and selfless. He is curious and hungry to learn. He is philosophically driven and derives his decision making from his strong philosophy.
"Mike Brown is a critical element as to why our franchise is growing into the kind of success we all envisioned and hoped to achieve. There is no man more deserving and it proves to the world that, yes, nice guys can indeed, finish first."
(Agencies via Shanghai Daily April 21, 2009)