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Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer, Thunder’s Billy Donovan voted co-coaches of the year by peers

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Mike Budenholzer and Billy Donovan are clearly two head coaches well respected by their peers. On Monday, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced that Budenholzer and Donovan are the 2020 co-recipients of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award. 

Budenholzer led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the NBA for a second straight season, while Donovan guided his Oklahoma City Thunder to a 40-24 record and a spot in the postseason despite losing two superstars last season in Russell Westbrook and Paul George

From the NBA: 

The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award recognizes the dedication, commitment and hard work of NBA Head Coaches and is presented annually to a Head Coach who helps guide his players to a higher level of performance on the court and shows outstanding service and dedication to the community off the court. It honors the spirit of Michael H. Goldberg, the esteemed longtime Executive Director of the NBCA, who set the standard for loyalty, integrity, love of the game, passionate representation and tireless promotion of NBA coaching. It is unique in that it is the only award voted upon by the winners’ peers, the Head Coaches of all 30 NBA teams. This year’s voting was based on games played from the start of the 2019-20 regular season through games played on March 11.


The depth of coaching excellence in the NBA is reflected in this year’s voting as 8 Head Coaches received votes. In addition to Budenholzer and Donovan, the following Coaches also received votes: Taylor Jenkins, Nate McMillan, Nick Nurse, Erik Spoelstra, Brad Stevens and Frank Vogel.

This is the second straight year that Budenholzer won the award, as he was selected by his peers following the 2018-19 season as well. Other previous recipients include Dwane Casey (2018), and Mike D’Antoni and Erik Spoelstra (2017). 

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“First, congrats to Billy Donovan for the outstanding job he and his staff have done with the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Budenholzer said in a statement. “Another great year of coaching by Billy and, again, another great year of work by all the Head Coaches in the NBA. Thank you all for your vote and support. Thank you to our dedicated players and staff in Milwaukee. The players are special, the staff is special and I’m beyond fortunate to coach this great team and for this great organization.” 

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the Coaches, they are a great group of people that I admire and respect,” Donovan added in a statement of his own. “Receiving the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award alongside such a terrific Coach like Bud makes it even more special. Individual honors to me have always been a reflection of good team dynamics, and I’m proud of the collective work that our players, coaching staff and the entire organization has put in this season. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead in Orlando as we get back to basketball and using our platform for social justice.”  

The vote was a close one this year. While Budenholzer and Donovan both won, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was one vote shy of making it a three-way tie, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Nurse still has a chance to receive some recognition for the job that he’s done with the defending-champion Raptors this season, as the NBA Coach of the Year award will be handed out — along with the rest of the annual awards — at a later date. 

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