Gregg Popovich, arguably the greatest coach in the history of basketball, is 69 years old. He will turn 70 in January 2019. He’s coached in some capacity for the Spurs since 1988. He briefly coached with the Warriors, but eventually re-joined the Spurs in a front office capacity before taking over as the head coach. During that time he’s won five championships and well over 1,000 games. He’s accomplished so much and one day he’s going to retire.
Could that be soon? It’s hard to think of a Spurs organization without Popovich, but according to Marc Stein of The New York Times that could be the case as soon as next season. Popovich is unsure when he’ll retire, but he’s also unsure if he’ll be coaching the Spurs next year.
“I don’t know the answer,” Popovich said when asked about his plans for next season in an interview Wednesday night after the Spurs’ 105-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Popovich said he and R.C. Buford, San Antonio’s longtime team president, have periodically discussed the club’s various options after this season.
“He’ll coach as long as he wants to coach,” Buford said.
The question of Popovich’s retirement had to come up at some point. The idea for a long time was that he would retire the same year Spurs legend Tim Duncan retired. Instead, he’s stuck around and watched Duncan retire, Manu Ginobili retire, and Tony Parker leave for Charlotte. The golden years of the Spurs are over and Popovich is all that remains of it. So how much longer will he stay around? That’s hard to really predict. He could really retire at any point and it would be shocking for no other reason than it’s impossible to see a world without Popovich coaching in it.
Even if Popovich does retire from the Spurs he will still be on a bench in some capacity. He’s agreed to be the coach for Team USA Olympic Basketball until at least 2020 and many believe that he won’t coach the Spurs longer than that. Everybody knows that Popovich will retire eventually. No matter when it happens it will still feel too early.