Phil Johnson (born 1941)

Phil Johnson (born September 6, 1941)

Teams coached: Weber State Wildcats, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls
Weber State record: 68-16 (.810)
Overall record^: 68-16 (.810)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  3  (1969, 1970, 1971)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  1  (1969)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  0
  • Big Sky Regular Season Champion:  3  (1969, 1970, 1971)


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1988-2011 Utah Jazz (asst)
1984-1988 Kansas City/Sacramento Kings
1982-1984 Utah Jazz (asst)
1982 Chicago Bulls (interim HC)
1979-1982 Chicago Bulls (asst)
1973-1978 Kansas City Kings
1971-1973 Chicago Bulls (asst)
1968-1971 Weber State
1964-1968 Weber State (asst)
1963-1964 Utah State (freshmen)

Phil Johnson Facts

  • Philip Donald Johnson
  • Born September 6, 1941
  • Hometown: Grace, Idaho
  • Alma Mater: Utah State University (BS, 1963 & MA, 1964)
  • Graduated from Grace HS (ID) and spent one year at Utah State before transferring to Weber JC (now Weber State) in 1960
    • Played one year at Weber before transferring back to Utah State, where he finished his career playing for LaDell Andersen
  • Started his career coaching the freshmen on Andersen‘s staff, then returned to Weber State as an assistant coach in 1964
    • Spent four seasons assisting Dick Motta, who had been his coach at Grace HS in Idaho
  • Elevated to head coach in 1968, coaching the Wildcats for three very successful seasons
    • Went 68-16 overall, winning the Big Sky and reaching the NCAA Tournament in all three years he was at the helm
  • Left Weber in 1968 and spent the rest of his coaching career – which would span another 40 years – in the NBA ranks
    • Was an assistant with the Chicago Bulls on two occasions, working under Dick Motta (1971-73) and Jerry Sloan (1979-82) and was the Bulls’ interim head coach for the final game of the 1981-82 season (a loss)
  • In between those two stints was a five-year run as the head coach of the Kansas City Kings, going 155-185 from 1973-78
    • Named the NBA Coach of the Year in 1975 after going 44-38 and reaching the Conference Semifinals
  • Returned to Utah in 1982, spending two seasons as an assistant under Jazz head coach Frank Layden
  • Hired again by the Kings in 1984 and served as head coach for another four seasons, including the teams move to Sacramento in 1985
    • Went 81-120 during this second stint and just 0-3 in the Playoffs, a first-round sweep by Houston in 1986
  • Reunited with Sloan in Utah in 1988, spending the next 23 seasons on his coaching staff there
    • Time on the bench included the best seasons in franchise history: back-to-back Western Conference champs in 1997 and 1998
    • Stayed with the Jazz until 2011 when Sloan retired; in 23 years together, the Jazz made the Playoffs 20 times

Phil Johnson Coaching Tree

  • John Block (Point Loma Nazarene, UC San Diego)
  • Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets)
  • Larry Drew (Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks)
  • Frank Hamblen (Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks)
  • John Kuester (Detroit Pistons, George Washington, Boston University)
  • Dan Sparks (Wabash Valley, Vincennes)
  • Reggie Theus (Cal State Northridge, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Sacramento Kings, New Mexico State)
  • Terry Tyler (Eastern New Mexico)
  • Gene Visscher (Northern Arizona, Weber State)
  • Mike Woodson (Indiana, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks)


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

NOTE: For the coach Phil Johnson that was born in 1958, please see here.