Lionel Hollins joined the team as the lead assistant in Vancouver before the team’s inaugural 1995-96 season, and earned his first stint as a head coach in the NBA with the Grizzlies midway through the 1999-00 season, leading the Grizzlies to an 18-42 finish, 22-60 overall. During the 2004-05 season, he served as interim head coach again for four games after Hubie Brown resigned.
Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Hollins served seven years (1988-95) with the Phoenix Suns as an assistant coach. During that time the Suns compiled a record of 394-180, and posted 50 or more wins and reached the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, including three conference finals. Phoenix also reached the 1993 NBA Finals, and won two Pacific Division titles in 1993 and 1995. He also served on the coaching staff of two winning NBA All-Star Teams in Salt Lake City, Utah (1993) and Phoenix, Az. (1995). He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Arizona State University, where he served two years (1985-86, 1987-88).
As a player, Hollins was a starting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers’ 1977 Championship team in only his second season. A first round draft pick (sixth overall) by Portland in the 1975 NBA Draft, Hollins established himself quickly by earning a spot on the 1976 All-Rookie team. In five years (1975-1980) with the Trail Blazers, he was a three-time All-Defensive Team selection, while also earning a spot in the 1978 All-Star Game. In 10 seasons, he played in the NBA Finals three times.
His collegiate career began at Dixie Junior College, where he played two seasons (1971-73), being selected NJCAA All-American and leading the Rebels to the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas, prior to transferring to Arizona State University. In his final two seasons with the Sun Devils (1973-75), he was named a Sporting News First-Team All-American in 1975, while leading his team to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Title and advancing to the NCAA West Regional Finals (Elite Eight) before losing to eventual champion UCLA, in legendary coach John Wooden`s final season.
Hollins has been inducted into the Halls Of Fame of Arizona State University, Nevada High School Basketball, Southern Nevada Sports, and the Pac-10. In addition, he has been named one of the top 100 athletes of Nevada, and one of the top 150 top athletes of Arizona.
Hollins was born on Oct. 19, 1953 in Arkansas City, Kansas. He and his wife, Angela, have four children: Christopher, who works as a sales manager at Insight.com, Anthony, a second year medical student at UT medical school, Jacqueline, a sophomore at Miami of Ohio, and Austin, a freshman at Germantown HS.