Paul Westhead

Paul Westhead (born February 21, 1939)

Teams coached: La Salle Explorers, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Loyola Marymount Lions, Denver Nuggets, George Mason Patriots, Phoenix Mercury
La Salle record: 142-105 (.575)
Loyola Marymount record: 105-48 (.686)
George Mason record: 38-70 (.352)
Overall record^: 285-223 (.561)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2009-2014 Oregon (women’s)
2007-2008 Oklahoma City Thunder (asst)
2006-2007 Phoenix Mercury
2003-2005 Orlando Magic (asst)
2003 Long Beach Jam
2000-2001 Los Angeles Stars
1997-1999 Golden State Warriors (asst)
1993-1997 George Mason
1990-1992 Denver Nuggets
1985-1990 Loyola Marymount
1982-1983 Chicago Bulls
1979-1981 Los Angeles Lakers
1979 Los Angeles Lakers (asst)
1970-1979 La Salle

Paul Westhead Facts

  • Paul William Westhead
  • Born February 21, 1939
  • Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Alma Mater: Saint Joseph’s University (BA, 1961)
  • Played at Saint Joseph’s for Jack Ramsay; member of the 1960-61 Hawks’ team that reached the Final Four (later vacated)
  • Started his coaching career at Cheltenham HS outside of his hometown of Philadelphia and then took over at La Salle in 1970
    • Coached the Explorers for nine seasons, appearing in the postseason three times (two NCAA, one NIT)
    • Won two ECC regular season and Tournament titles (in 1975 and 1978)
  • Joined the pro ranks in 1979, briefly assisting Jack McKinney before taking over as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach
    • Westhead led the Lakers to glory in 1980, winning the NBA Championship in a six-game series with the 76ers
    • Fired 11 games into his 3rd season and went on to spend the 1982-83 season as the Chicago Bulls’ head coach (28-54)
  • Returned to the NCAA ranks in 1985, becoming the head coach at Loyola Marymount
    • Made an impact at LMU, pioneering a run-and-gun style with USC transfers Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble
    • Reached the NCAA Tournament three straight years 1988-90, winning two WCC titles and twice being named WCC COY
    • Success at LMU is sometimes overshadowed by the shocking on-court death of Gathers the 1990 WCC Tournament
      • Playing in Gathers’ honor, the Lions reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, the first (and still only) appearance for the program
  • Jumped back to the NBA in 1990, leading the Denver Nuggets for two seasons but failing to make the playoffs
  • Spent four years as the head coach at George Mason, finishing all four years below .500
  • Held a variety of different jobs throughout the latter part of his coaching career, including assistant jobs in the NBA and head coaching jobs in the ABA, NBDL, WNBA and Japan’s NBL
    • His Mercury squad won the WNBA Championship in 2007, making him the only coach to win both NBA and WNBA championships
    • Spent one season as an assistant to longtime friend P. J. Carlesimo with the OKC Thunder
  • Spent five years as the head women’s coach at Oregon, going 65-90 (27-64) overall during that tenure

Paul Westhead Coaching Tree

  • Don Casey (New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Tony DiLeo (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Lefty Ervin (La Salle)
  • Jay Hillock (Loyola Marymount)
  • Brad Holland (San Diego, Cal State Fullerton)
  • Mark Macon (Binghamton)
  • Joe Mihalich (Hofstra, Niagara)
  • Reggie Theus (Bethune-Cookman, Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Sacramento Kings, New Mexico State)
  • Mike Thibault (Washington Mystics, Connecticut Sun)


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