Mike’s Memorabilia: Red Auerbach Trophy

Red Auerbach Trophy for Coach of the Year – 1986: One of the highlights and tremendous honors of my coaching career was being named NBA Coach of the Year for the 1985–86 season.

It was my third year as head coach and going into the season the outlook was bleak. We were the second youngest team in the NBA. We had only won 34 games the previous year and my contract was up at the end of the season. Somehow I had to convince our guys that we could bounce back and turn things around.

Led by NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and point guard Doc Rivers we went into the playoffs on the back of a hard-fought 50-win season. We beat the Pistons in the first round but unfortunately we were defeated by the Celtics in the second – they would go on to win the Championship.

Beyond our team’s success, Wilkins led the league in scoring with 30.3 ppg and made his first All-Star appearance. Spud Webb (one of the few players I could look in the eyes without a step stool) won the NBA Slam-Dunk Championship – becoming the shortest player ever to win the contest. I was named Coach of the Year and the Hawks signed me to a four-year extension. We went on to have three consecutive 50-win seasons. It was a magical year.

Check out this Hawks Highlight Reel from 1986.

Mike’s son admires his Coach of the Year trophy in 1986.

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