Penn Hills native George Karl is set to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame 2022 class this summer, according to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Karl is most famous for his work as an NBA head coach. He coached teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors in the 1980s, but didn’t start to see serious success until becoming head coach of the Seattle Supersonics in 1992.
In Seattle, Karl led his team to a record of 384-150, averaging about 59 wins per seven seasons as head coach. This record finished second best during that time period, with the Chicago Bulls just above them.
The Supersonics amassed the best record in the Western Conference twice, won four division titles and made the playoffs all seven years during Karl’s tenure as head coach. He made the NBA Finals in 1996, but lost to the 72-10 Bulls in a six game series.
While Karl oversaw great success in the regular season, he only had a 40-40 record in the postseason and lost his job in 1999.
He soon became the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and coached five seasons there. His best success was making an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001, where Milwaukee lost a seven game series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Karl’s final major coaching stint was with the Denver Nuggets from 2005-13. Karl led the Nuggets to a playoff appearance every year he coached and had a record of 423-257 as head coach, with the 423 wins the second-most in franchise history.
Like Seattle, Karl struggled to get the Nuggets deep into the playoffs. The farthest he got them was in 2009 to the Western Conference Finals, which ended in a six games series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Karl lost in the Western Conference First Round in every other year besides 2009, even with a young star in Carmelo Anthony in his prime.
Karl won the 2013 NBA Coach of the Year, but surprisingly enough, he also lost the Nuggets head coaching job just a month after the award.
Karl finished his coaching career with the Sacramento Kings in 2016 after a disappointing year and a half with the team. His 1,175 wins as a head coach is sixth-best all-time and his 1,999 games coached are seventh-most all-time.
Karl also played basketball for a short time in the ABA and NBA with the San Antonio Spurs from 1973-78.
He played his high school basketball at Penn Hills before playing in college at North Carolina from 1970-73. As a Tar Heel, he made First-Team All-ACC in 1973 and twice made the Second-Team All-ACC in 1971 and 1972.