Though it wasn’t the season he envisioned, Detroit Pistons head coach and president Stan Van Gundy can add another notch to his repertoire of accomplishments.
The Professional Basketball Writers Association announced on Friday that he’d been named as this year’s recipient of the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, annually awarded to the NBA coach who best cooperates with media and fans, as well as excellence on the court.
From the official press release:
“Van Gundy led the Pistons to a 37-45 record in this third season as the team’s coach and president of basketball operations. While his team failed to reach the playoffs, the 57-year-old was a champion when dealing with the media. Van Gundy is generous with his time, is candid during his media sessions and speaks his mind.”
The PBWA is made up of of 205 writers and editors who cover the NBA on a regular basis for newspapers, online outlets and magazines. PBWA president Josh Robbins wrote an email to The Detroit Free Press explaining the decision:
“In voting Stan Van Gundy the winner of this year’s Rudy Tomjanovich Award, PBWA members are commending him for giving his time so generously to the media and for the thoughtfulness of his comments,” the email read. “Van Gundy, his fellow finalists and the other nominees understand that availability to the working press and candor in speaking with the press promote more informed, more accurate coverage. Better coverage benefits everyone, especially the fans who follow the sport.”
Last year’s winner was Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors. The other four finalists for this year’s award were Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets, David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.
The award’s namesake, Rudy Tomjanovich, served as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, and was particularly known for his professional demeanor when dealing with the media. He led the Rockets to back to back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.
Past winners include Utah’s Jerry Sloan, Boston’s Doc Rivers, Denver’s George Karl, Indiana’s Frank Vogel, and Golden State’s Steve Kerr.