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.