Paul Westphal

Paul Westphal (1950-2021)

Current position: Southwestern Baptist Bible College, Grand Canyon Antelopes, Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, Pepperdine Waves, Sacramento Kings
Southwestern Baptist Bible record^: 21-9 (.700)
Grand Canyon record^: 64-18 (.780)
Pepperdine record: 76-72 (.514)
Overall record^: 161-99 (.619)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  1  (2002)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  0
  • WCC Regular Season Champion:  1  (2002)
  • NAIA National Championships:  1  (1988)
  • NAIA Tournament Appearances:  1  (1988)


  • AP All-American:  1  (1971)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2019)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2018)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2014-2016 Brooklyn Nets (asst)
2009-2012 Sacramento Kings
2007-2008 Dallas Mavericks (asst)
2001-2006 Pepperdine
1998-2000 Seattle SuperSonics
1992-1995 Phoenix Suns
1988-1992 Phoenix Suns (asst)
1986-1988 Grand Canyon
1985-1986 Southwestern Baptist Bible

Paul Westphal Facts

  • Paul Douglas Westphal
  • Born November 30, 1950
  • Died January 2, 2021
  • Hometown: Torrance, California
  • Alma Mater: University of Southern California (BA, 1972)
  • Westphal was a star player at Aviation HS (CA) before going on to play for Bob Boyd at USC
    • Earned second-team AP All-American honors as a junior in 1971 and was All-Pac-8 three times
  • Drafted 10th overall by Boston in 1972, playing three seasons for the Celtics and 12 season overall in the NBA
    • Won an NBA title with the Celtics in 1974, then played against the Celtics with Phoenix in the 1976 Finals
    • After Boston, Westphal played for the Suns (six years, two stints), Supersonics (one year) and Knicks (two years)
    • Named an All-Star five times (1977-81), was All-NBA First Team three times and Second Team once
    • Had his number #44 retired by the Phoenix Suns, the team for which he played the longest and later coached
    • Head coaches he played for in the NBA include Tom Heinsohn, John MacLeod, Lenny Wilkens, Red Holzman and Hubie Brown
    • Averaged 15.6 points over his career, scoring more than 14,000 total points in the regular and postseason
    • Inducted as a player into the College Basketball Hall of Fame (c/o 2018) and Naismith Hall of Fame (c/o 2019)
  • Got into coaching after retiring in 1984, spending one year as head coach at Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University), a NAIA program in Glendale, AZ – Westphal’s team went 21-9
  • Took over at then-NAIA Grand Canyon in 1986 and in his second and final year there, led the Antelopes to a NAIA title
    • Was 64-18 in his two seasons with the program before leaving for the NBA
  • Was an assistant in Phoenix under Cotton Fitzsimmons for four years before taking over as the Suns’ head coach in 1992
    • Led the team, led by Charles Barkley, to the NBA Finals in his first year – a loss to Michael Jordan and the Bulls
    • Reached the Conference Semifinals in each of the next two seasons but was fired in 1995 after starting the season 14-19
  • Coached at a high school in Arizona for two years before the SuperSonics hired him as head coach in 1998
    • Went 25-25 and 45-37 in his two full seasons in Seattle; fired after a 6-9 start to the 1999-2000 season
  • Returned to the college ranks in 2001, leading the Pepperdine Waves for five seasons
    • Won the WCC title and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2002, but failed to return to the postseason again
  • Worked in broadcast for year, then served as an assistant under Avery Johnson with the Dallas Mavericks in 2007-08
  • Spent a year as Executive VP of Basketball Ops with the Mavericks before becoming head coach in Sacramento in 2009
    • Missed the playoffs in two full seasons with the Kings, then was fired after a 2-5 start to the 2011-12 season
  • Later on, Westphal spent two seasons under one of his own former assistants, Lionel Hollins, with the Brooklyn Nets
  • Diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2020 and passed away from the disease in January 2021 at the age of 70
  • Along with his wife, Cindy, has two children

Paul Westphal Coaching Tree

  • Danny Ainge (Phoenix Suns)
  • Gib Arnold (Hawaii, Southern Idaho)
  • Lionel Hollins (Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies)
  • Otis Hughley, Jr. (Alabama A&M)
  • Frank Johnson (Phoenix Suns)
  • Wyking Jones (California)
  • Dan Majerle (Grand Canyon)
  • Danny Manning (Maryland, Wake Forest, Tulsa)
  • Nate McMillan (Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle SuperSonics)
  • Scott Mossman (Grand Canyon, California Baptist)
  • Todd Simon (Bowling Green, Southern Utah, UNLV)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at NCAA Division I and NAIA levels only; Grand Canyon competed at the NAIA level during Westphal’s tenure there