John MacLeod

John MacLeod (1937-2019)

Teams coached: Oklahoma Sooners, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Oklahoma record: 90-69 (.566)
Notre Dame record: 106-124 (.461)
Overall record^: 196-193 (.504)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0  (Runner-up in 1992)
  • NIT Appearances:  2  (1970, 1971, 1992, 1997)


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2005-2006 Golden State Warriors (asst)
2001-2004 Denver Nuggets (asst)
1999-2000 Phoenix Suns (asst)
1991-1999 Notre Dame
1990-1991 New York Knicks
1987-1989 Dallas Mavericks
1973-1987 Phoenix Suns
1967-1973 Oklahoma

John MacLeod Facts

  • John Matthew MacLeod
  • Born October 3, 1937
  • Died April 14, 2019
  • Hometown: New Albany, Indiana
  • Alma Mater: Bellarmine University (BA, 1959)
  • Earned ten letters across basketball, baseball and track at Bellarmine in Louisville, KY
    • Played basketball for the Knights under head coach Gene Kenney
  • Started his career in 1963, spending two years as head basketball/baseball/CC coach (and AD) at Smithville School (IN)
    • Next spent two years as head baseball coach and assistant basketball coach at Cathedral HS in Indianapolis
  • Hired by Bob Stevens in 1966 to be the freshmen coach at Oklahoma
    • Elevated to head coach in 1967, coaching the Sooners for the next six seasons
    • Went 90-69 at OU, reaching the NIT twice but never the NCAA Tournament
  • Embarked on a long NBA coaching career in 1973, starting with a 13+ season tenure with the Phoenix Suns
    • Was 579-543 during his time in Phoenix, still holding the franchise record for most career victories (by over 300 wins)
    • Reached the NBA Playoffs nine times, winning the Western Conference in 1976 and reaching two other Conference Finals
    • During what was then the longest tenure in NBA history, MacLeod also coached the West in the 1981 All-Star Game
    • Coached some notable players, including future coaches Steve Alford, Clem Haskins, Maurice Cheeks and Patrick Ewing
  • Also coached the Dallas Mavericks for two-plus seasons and the New York Knicks for one season
    • Reached the Western Conference Final with Dallas in 1988, losing in 7 games to the eventual champion LA Lakers
  • Returned to the college ranks, and his home state of Indiana, in 1991 when he was hired to be the head coach at Notre Dame
    • Coached the Fighting Irish for eight seasons, going 106-124 overall and reaching two NITs (runner-up in 1992)
    • Named Big East COY in 1997 (the program’s second year in the conference), improving to 16-14 from 9-18 the year prior
  • Inducted into the Indiana Basketball HOF (c/o 2005), Arizona Sports HOF (c/o 2016) and Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor (2012)
  • Died of complications from Alzheimer’s in 2019; survived by his wife, Carol, and their two children, Matt and Kathleen

John MacLeod Coaching Tree

  • Richie Adubato (Washington Mystics, New York Liberty, Dallas Mavericks)
  • Steve Alford (Nevada, UCLA, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri State, Manchester)
  • Al Bianchi (Virginia Squires, Washington Caps, Seattle SuperSonics)
  • Maurice Cheeks (Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)
  • Doug Gottlieb (Green Bay)
  • Clem Haskins (Minnesota, Western Kentucky)
  • Gar Heard (Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks)
  • Michael Holton (Portland)
  • Martin Ingelsby (Delaware)
  • Mark Jackson (Golden State Warriors)
  • Dennis Johnson (Los Angeles Clippers, NBDL, CBA)
  • Kevin Kuwik (Army)
  • Kyle Macy (Morehead State)
  • Fran McCaffery (Iowa, Siena, UNC Greensboro)
  • Ted Owens (Oral Roberts, Kansas)
  • Pat Riley (Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers)
  • John Shumate (SMU, Grand Canyon)
  • Billy Taylor (Elon, Belmont Abbey, Ball State, Lehigh)
  • Bernard Thompson (UC Santa Cruz)
  • Terry Tyler (Eastern New Mexico)
  • Kiki VanDeWeghe (New Jersey Nets)
  • Paul Westphal (Sacramento Kings, Pepperdine, Seattle SuperSonics, Phoenix Suns, Grand Canyon)
  • John Wetzel (Phoenix Suns)
  • Herb Williams (New York Knicks)
  • Monty Williams (Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA Division I level only