Alvin Gentry became the 14th head coach in franchise history on Feb. 16, 2009, with the midseason move paying immediate dividends. Returning to a more up-tempo offensive style, the team made a late surge (58%) to close out the 2008-09 regular season. Winning his Suns-coaching debut by a 40-point margin, it marked the largest margin of victory in the first game after a coaching change in NBA history. In Gentry`s first three games at the helm, his team scored 140 or more points in every game for the first time since Portland accomplished the feat in 1990-91. The Suns also scored 30 or more points in 66 of 124 quarters after the All-Star break, including five 40-point efforts.
A 30-year coaching veteran, including 21 seasons in the NBA, 2009-10 marks Alvin Gentry`s sixth season with the Suns after originally joining the staff as an assistant coach on June 1, 2004. A three-time NBA head coach (Miami, Detroit and the L.A. Clippers) before coming to Phoenix, he had also been an assistant for 16 seasons, nine years under the trio of Larry Brown, Kevin Loughery and Doug Collins, who have combined for over 1,800 NBA victories. During Gentry’s tenure as an assistant in Phoenix, the Suns compiled a record of 260-119 (.686).
As a past head coach, Gentry led the Clippers to an 89-133 mark (.401) from 2000-03. In 2001-02, in his second season as the Clippers’ head coach, Gentry guided the Clippers to a 39-43 record, the team’s highest win total since 1992-93, and their mark of 31-51 in 2000-01 represented a 16-win improvement over the 1999-2000 season.
The 54-year-old, who assisted the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team in training camp as they prepared for the 2006 FIBA Men’s World Championships in Japan, also spent five seasons (1995-2000) with the Detroit Pistons, including the first two-and-a-half seasons as an assistant under Collins. He took over for Collins on Feb. 2, 1998 and registered a 73-72 (.503) record from 1997-2000. Gentry received his first head coaching opportunity with the Miami Heat, taking over as interim head coach for Kevin Loughery on Feb. 14, 1995, and finishing the season with a record of 15-21 (.417). He had served as an assistant with the Heat from 1991-95. Gentry’s first NBA coaching job came with the San Antonio Spurs, where he spent the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons as an assistant coach under Larry Brown. Gentry then moved to the Clippers for one season as an assistant under Mike Schuler.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Colorado during the 1977-78 season. After one year working in private business, he returned to the bench when he received his first full-time collegiate assistant coaching job at Baylor in 1980. Gentry then returned to Colorado as an assistant coach from 1981-85. Gentry moved on to the University of Kansas as an assistant under then Head Coach Larry Brown from 1985-88, and helped lead the Jayhawks to the 1988 NCAA Championship before leaving with Brown for the Spurs prior to the start of the 1988-89 season.
He played point guard at Appalachian State for coaching legends: Press Maravich, the father of “Pistol Pete,” and former Georgia Tech Head Coach Bobby Cremins. Gentry graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in management in 1977.
After graduation, his cousin, former NBA All-Star David “Skywalker” Thompson got him a tryout with the Denver Nuggets and although he didn’t make the cut, he made an impression on Brown, who eventually hired Gentry as an assistant coach with the University of Kansas and the San Antonio Spurs.
Gentry and his wife Suzanne have two children, Ryan Marcus and Matthew Jackson. He also has one daughter, Alexis, creator of the entertainment blog Trashwire.com.