Kings head coachesLoading
  • Phil Johnson

    Seasons: 1985-87
    Record: 51-77 (.398)
    The skinny: The kindly Johnson relocated with the Kings from Kansas City and, in their inaugural season in Sacramento, guided a 37-win team to the playoffs. The end for Johnson was swift, midway through the 1986-87 season after a debacle at the Forum against the Lakers. The Kings missed all 18 of their first-quarter shots in setting an NBA record for futility, trailing 29-0 and then 40-4 after one quarter. Joe Axelson, then the club president, said former team owner Gregg Lukenbill “was as livid as any human being I’ve ever seen.”
    Bee file
  • Jerry Reynolds

    Season: 1986-87
    Record: 15-21 (.417)
    The skinny: In taking over on an interim basis following Johnson’s termination, Reynolds was folksy and fun from the start. In his first news conference, he said he was no Bobby Knight but could work on his profanity. And there was this: “I’m a country boy, and I can always go back and work in my piano factory in French Lick (Ind.).” Reynolds moved to the front office following the season, stepping aside for new coach Bill Russell.
    MORGAN ONG | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • Bill Russell

    Season: 1987-88
    Record: 17-41 (.293)
    The skinny: Kings executives were desperate for a big-name hire, but they erred with Russell. The ultimate leader and winner with the Boston Celtics a generation earlier, Russell was a royal flop here. It wasn’t uncommon for him to sit in the Arco Arena seats during practice, face buried in the newspaper, sipping coffee, completely detached from the action in front of him. He was dumped with 24 games left in his first season.
    MITCH TOLL | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • Jerry Reynolds

    Seasons: 1987-90
    Record: 41-93 (.306)
    The skinny: Reynolds again saved the ship, taking over for Russell. He said years later that coaching wore on him and turned him into a surly grouch after losses – there were plenty – and he didn’t like who he had become. His health also became an issue when he collapsed during a December 1988 game at Arco Arena. With a 7-21 mark early in the 1989-90 season, he returned to the front office, stepping aside for Dick Motta.
  • Dick Motta

    Seasons: 1989-92
    Record: 48-113 (.293)
    The skinny: After Motta took over in January 1990, the young Kings objected to his half-court sets. They wanted to run, and he wanted to bench half the roster for poor effort. Motta was doomed by a still-standing NBA-record 43-game road losing streak. (After the Kings ended the skid, he rewarded the players with six-packs of beer on the team plane, appropriately nicknamed “Airball One.”) Motta said he wanted to retire. Instead, the Kings fired Motta, 60, on Christmas eve 1991. “Best Christmas present I ever got,” he crowed.
    SKIP SHUMAN | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • Rex Hughes

    Season: 1991-92
    Record: 22-35 (.386)
    The skinny: Hughes was temporarily promoted from assistant coach.
    Owen Brewer
  • Eddie Jordan

    Seasons: 1996-98
    Record: 33-64 (.340)
    The skinny: Jordan got off to a promising start, but a 3-26 run down the stretch sealed his fate. It especially pained team basketball president Geoff Petrie that former owner Jim Thomas fired Jordan. The Kings interviewed him in 2009 about a reunion.
    BRYAN PATRICK | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

    Rick Adelman

    Seasons: 1998-2006
    Record: 395-229 (.633)
    The skinny: Adelman ushered in the best era in club history, transforming the lovable losers into a global story with a pass-happy offense led by Vlade Divac that produced eight successive playoff trips. The Kings were on the brink of the NBA Finals in 2002 and remained a Western Confer- ence factor the next four seasons. The 2005-06 midseason acquisition of Ron Artest injected defensive hope, and the Kings pushed the Spurs in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. Adelman was stunned that his contract was not extended, a clear indication that he was not beloved by the Maloofs. They had courted Phil Jackson the previous summer, angering Adelman.
    Randy Pench | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • Eric Musselman

    Seasons: 2006-07
    Record: 33-49 (.402)
    The skinny: The post-Rick Adelman era offered promise with most of the roster back from the 2006 playoff club, with Musselman brought in to infuse defense and a fresh leadership voice. But a charge of driving under the influence before an 8-5 start to the season turned into a 5-17 finish, and Musselman was done after one season.
    Paul Kitagaki Jr. | Sacramento Bee Staff Photo
  • Reggie Theus

    Seasons: 2007-09
    Record: 44-62 (.415)
    The skinny: The Kings considered promoting assistant coach Scott Brooks, the Manteca product now doing wonders with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But the Maloofs were wowed by Theus, who promised a return to glory, which didn’t happen. The Kings started Theus’ second season 6-18, including 13 losses in 15 games, resulting in his exit. He was the sixth NBA coach to be fired before Christmas that season, bettering the old mark of three.
    Hector Amezcua |
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    Kenny Natt

    Seasons: 2008-09
    Record: 11-47 (.190)
    The skinny: Natt replaced Reggie Theus and badly wanted to stick. However, Natt didn’t win enough with a thin roster. An ugly 17-win season led to the selection of Tyreke Evans with the No. 4 overall draft pick.
    Randy Pench |
  • KingsRaptors

    Paul Westphal

    Seasons: 2009-12
    Record: 51-120 (.298)
    The skinny: Westphal reached the 1993 NBA Finals as the Phoenix Suns’ coach with a veteran group led by Kevin Johnson and Charles Barkley. But guiding the youngest team in the NBA this season meant little veteran leadership, and his strained relationship with DeMarcus Cousins and the team’s weak defense lately doomed Westphal.
    Hector Amezcua |
  • kings_bucks

    Keith Smart

    Seasons: 2012-13
    Record: 48-93 (.298)
    The skinny: Smart hasn’t had the best of karma luck. He wasn’t retained as head coach by the Warriors after the team was sold, and he was released with a year left on his Kings deal when the franchise sold to the Vivek Ranadive group. In between, Smart had a team that that featured too much one-on-one play, and Cousins, who showcased great promise but also had too many technical fouls and bad body English, upsetting his coaches and teammates. Smart also received little help through free-agency, drafts and trades, in part because the Maloofs were operating on the cheap.
    Jose Luis Villegas |
  • kings
By Joe Davidson
The Kings have had 12 coaches (Jerry Reynolds twice) since they came to Sacramento. Only one (Rick Adelman) left with a winning record.
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