CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) [Bulls news release]–The Chicago Bulls have hired Billy Donovan as the team’s head coach.
Donovan, 55, comes to the Bulls having spent the last five seasons manning the sidelines for the Oklahoma City Thunder. While in OKC, his teams amassed a record of 243-157 (.608) and made five consecutive trips to the playoffs.
His winning percentage ranks 16th (min. 100 games) in NBA history, and trails only Nick Nurse (.721), Steve Kerr (.709) and Gregg Popovich (.675) among active coaches. He is also one of only four active first-time head coaches in the league (along with Rick Carlisle, Kerr and Erik Spoelstra) to lead their teams to the playoffs in each of their first five seasons as a head coach.
“We are very pleased to welcome Billy and his family to the Chicago Bulls. The success that he has sustained over the course of his coaching career puts him on a different level,” said Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President – Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas. “We feel his ability to help his players reach their potential, both individually and collectively, will mesh well with our roster. Whether as a player or as a coach, he has won everywhere his career has taken him, and we hope that will continue here in Chicago.”
In 2015-16, his first season with the Thunder, he guided the team to a record of 55-27 (.671), as it claimed the Northwest Division title and advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
“I want to thank Jerry, Michael, Arturas and Marc for the opportunity to coach the Chicago Bulls. I also want to thank them for the time and effort they put into this hiring process. I’m excited to partner with Arturas as we work together on behalf of this historic franchise,” said Billy Donovan.
Prior to his arrival in Oklahoma City, Donovan enjoyed a storied 19-year stint as the head coach at the University of Florida. While in Gainesville, he coached his teams to an overall record of 467-186 (.715). His term with the Gators was highlighted by back-to-back National Championships in 2006, and again in 2007.
The Gators enjoyed sustained success under Donovan, as his teams posted 16 straight seasons with 20 or more wins, three campaigns with 30 or more wins, 17 consecutive trips to the postseason and six SEC Championships.
A native of Rockville Centre, New York, Donovan played four seasons at Providence (1983-87). His senior season, he averaged 20.6 ppg and helped lead the Friars to the 1987 Final Four.