Coach Profile: David Joerger


Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Heading into his third season as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, Dave Joerger holds a reputation as a proven leader with a knack for tough, championship-caliber basketball. While his success in Memphis is known to NBA fans, they might not know that Joerger has been producing winning basketball since he assumed a coaching role.

A college athlete at Concordia College and Moorhead State, Joerger transitioned from playing to coaching when he accepted a position with the Dakota Wizards of the International Basketball Association. From 1997-2000, he would serve as an assistant before becoming the team’s head coach in 2000. Soon after, titles came to Dakota and Joerger until he moved on in 2004.

After leaving Dakota, Joerger brought winning pedigrees to the Cedar Rapids River Raiders (2004), the Sioux Falls Skyforce (04-06) and another stint with the Dakota Wizards (06-07).

Joerger’s success garnered the attention of the Grizzlies, as he joined the team as an assistant coach for the 2006-2007 season–a position he’d hold until 2013. When the Grizzlies announced that head coach Lionel Hollins would depart the club after the season, attention turned to Joerger.

With the team under his guidance, the Grizzlies reputation for hard-nosed, efficient basketball would grow. Players like Mike Conley Jr., Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph would be just a few that bought into the new head coach’s system. In his first season, Memphis would reach the first round of the playoffs. The following season would see the club reach the conference semifinals before bowing out to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.

As Joerger enters season three at the helm, Grizzly fans are excited to see what’s in store. With new addition Matt Barnes joining the squad, Joerger has a bolstered squad ready to push further into the playoffs. The Grizzlies open the season October 28 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Coach’s Profile: NYC FC’s Jason Kreis

Source: MLS Soccer

Source: MLS Soccer

For NYC FC’s first season, we needed an established leader to guide this club to glory–someone capable of leading by example and their passion for the sport. That’s why NYC FC is proud to have Jason Kreis as the first manager in the club’s history. Kreis made a name for himself at every club he played for. Early into his career as a manager, Kreis has been off to an impressive start that he hopes to grow on in New York City.

Kreis is a lifelong fan of the sport, with his parents among the first group to bring premier club soccer to their home state of Nebraska. After playing in Louisiana for high school, Kreis would play forward at Duke University, earning three-time All-American status with 39 goals and 38 assists.

In 1995, Kreis would join the inaugural MLS season as a fifth round selection of the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas). Among his Dallas milestones, Kreis holds the distinction of scoring the franchise’s first goal–something he would go on to do again with his later club. The next four seasons saw Kreis consistently contribute to the Burn. In 1999, Kreis was voted the league’s MVP–a first for an American-born player. In 2005, after years of solid contribution, Kreis would become the first trade for a new franchise, Real Salt Lake. At Real, Kreis would once again become the first player to score for the new franchise. Additionally in 2005, Kreis would become the league’s first 100-goal scorer In 2007, Kreis would retire to become the club’s new head coach. He retired with 108 goals and 74 assists in competition.

Kreis didn’t miss a beat as a manager, despite being the youngest manager at the helm. By 2009, Real Salt Lake had earned its first MLS Cup. In the following seasons, Kreis would cement his status as a team leader by taking the club to the playoffs every year. In 2013, the club would return to the Cup finals, only to lose to Sporting Kansas City.

At the conclusion of the season, Kreis would join the emerging NYC FC club. Now, Kreis and supporters alike are witnessing the birth of this club every week. As expected, an expansion club often faces its highs and lows–something Kreis knows all too well about. His leadership has helped steer a club that boasts legends like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard to strong first season.

We all look forward to seeing what Jason and this dynamic club have to offer for the rest of 2015 and for seasons beyond.