Las Vegas, July 12, 2016—Phil Johnson, one of the most impactful and successful Assistant Coaches in NBA history is the recipient of the inaugural “Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award,” the National Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
“Throughout his NBA coaching career, Phil Johnson epitomized everything that a world class Assistant Coach brings to the game. Teacher, motivator, competitor, confidant, are all skills that come to mind when thinking of Coach Phil Johnson and his impressive legacy. Phil worked side by side with such NBA coaching greats as Dick Motta, Frank Layden, and for 23 years with Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz. I can think of no more fitting recipient for the inaugural Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award,” said Dallas Mavericks head coach and National Basketball Association president Rick Carlisle.
“I would like to thank the National Basketball Coaches Association for the honor of being chosen as the first recipient of the National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award. It is truly an honor. Three men chose me to be their first assistant: Dick Motta, Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan. We were more than co-workers; we were teammates, teachers, and ultimately friends for life. We were loyal to one another, and I was always free to express my opinions. I was lucky enough to be with teams who won much of
the time because we had good players who were willing to work hard and wanted to learn. I thank them for listening to me. I am appreciative of the owners, the general managers, and my fellow assistant coaches I worked with throughout my career. I want my family to know I appreciate the many sacrifices they made over the years. To the NBA (my second family) to the teams we competed against, to the fans who came to cheer us on, for the many memories that last a lifetime, I say thank you all. It’s been a great ride,” said Coach Phil Johnson.
Phil Johnson is one of the most accomplished and respected coaches in the history of the NBA and one who has been part of some of the best coaching staffs in the history of the game. Before entering the NBA, Phil Johnson played for and was a Graduate Assistant Coach at Utah State University, as well as the Assistant Coach under Dick Motta at Weber State University. While coaching in the NCAA, he won the District VII Coach of the year in 1968 as well as three straight Big Sky Coach of the Year awards while collecting Big Sky Championships from 1969-1971. Weber State inducted Coach Johnson into their Hall of Fame in 1992 and Utah State honored him as its Alumnus of the year in 1997. Coach Johnson will be inducted into the Utah State University Sports Hall Of Fame in September 2016.
During his NBA career, Coach Johnson was the Assistant Coach for the Utah Jazz under Jerry Sloan from 1988-2011, where he was an integral part of the Jazz’ 16 playoff appearances. He also was awarded NBA Coach of the Year in 1975.
Behind the architecture of Frank Layden, longtime Utah Jazz Coach, President, and General Manager, Johnson assisted Coach Jerry Sloan as they coached the Jazz to 6 Midwest Division Titles, 16 playoff appearances and 2 Western Conference Championships. Driving the Jazz were
such great players as Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Jeff Hornacek, all of whom perfected their game under Coach Phil Johnson.
Some words from Dick Motta:
“I am extremely overjoyed with the news of Coach Phil Johnson receiving the inaugural National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award,” said NBA coaching great Dick Motta, the recipient of the 2015 National Basketball Coaches Association Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award. “I have the good fortune of knowing Phil for over 50 years. It began in 1954 in Grace, Idaho where I coached Phil on the 7th grade basketball team and taught him in the classroom as well. Phil would later play for me collegiately at Weber State, before becoming my top assistant coach at his alma-matter. Phil later became Head Coach at Weber State when I left to coach the Chicago Bulls. After 3 consecutive NCAA tournaments, Phil became my top Assistant with the Chicago Bulls. Throughout the years, Phil nurtured me and I nurtured him in a relationship that extended far beyond the game of basketball. I have had the pleasure of coaching many players and alongside many coaches during my tenure, but none have made me prouder than Phil Johnson.”
Some words from Frank Layden:
“Phil Johnson is the ultimate coach. He not only knows the game, but also always had a great eye for talent. He always had special motivational skills and was able to reach out to players and win their confidence. Phil was not only smart, but he also had a great work ethic. Most of all, in our relationship we were not only professional colleagues, but were and remain extremely close friends. Phil had the greatest asset an Assistant Coach can have, which is loyalty. He is a man of great character and this award is well deserved. Congratulations Phil Johnson,” said Coach Frank
Layden, former NBA Coach Of The Year (1983-1984) and NBA Executive Of The Year (1983-1984).
Some words from Jerry Sloan:
“Coach Phil Johnson represents the absolute best in integrity, loyalty, basketball passion and coaching excellence. Our coaching careers not only reflect dedication, loyalty, and longevity, but also a phenomenal coaching path that expands to nearly 45 years through Dick Motta and Frank Layden. The success of the Utah Jazz organization during that time could not have been achieved without the hard work, dedication, and ingenuity of Phil. Phil bailed me out of a lot of tough basketball situations, and he has remained a special friend throughout the years. I am thrilled that Coach Phil Johnson is the inaugural National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award recipient,” said Coach Jerry Sloan, the 2009 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Inductee and the 2016 National Basketball Coaches Association Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award honors the tremendous achievements and commitments of Hall of Fame Tex Winter, who over an outstanding NBA coaching career set a standard of integrity, competitive excellence, loyalty, and tireless promotion of NBA basketball. This year’s award recognizes the extraordinary contributions Phil Johnson has made to the sport throughout his NBA career through building a body of work that has had a positive and powerful impact on the NBA coaching profession. Coach Johnson has embodied the high standards and leadership philosophies that Tex Winter brought to the game.
The National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award is selected annually by the Award Selection Committee. This Committee is comprised of some of the most respected coaches and basketball executives in the game, including Rick Adelman, Hubie Brown, Doug Collins, Wayne Embry, Danny Ferry, Mike Fratello, George Karl, Doc Rivers, Rod Thorn, and Lenny Wilkens.
This year’s Nominees included coaches, Ron Adams, Jim Boylan, Hank Egan, Jim Eyen, Tim Grgurich, Frank Hamblen, Dick Helm, Brian Hill, Phil Johnson, Jim Lynam, Bob McAdoo, Ron Rothstein, Brendan Suhr, and Bob Weiss.
For more on the NBA Coaches Association and this year’s Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award visit: https://nbacoaches.com.