George Matthew Karl (born May 12, 1951) is an American former professional basketball coach and former player. He is one of 9 coaches in NBA history to have won 1,000 NBA games.
Karl was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, where he starred at Penn Hills High School. After a college career at the University of North Carolina he signed with the ABA’s San Antonio Spurs in 1973. When the Spurs joined the NBA in 1976, Karl began his two-year NBA playing career.
After his playing career, Karl became an assistant coach for the Spurs. Karl then moved on to the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) as head coach of the Montana Golden Nuggets (Great Falls). As coach of the Golden Nuggets, Karl won CBA Coach of the Year twice, in 1981 and 1983.
In 1984, Karl became the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, taking them to the playoffs in 1985. He was dismissed by the Cavs in 1986 near the end of the season.
In the 1986–87 season, Karl coached the Golden State Warriors and took them from a record of 30–52 the year before, to the playoffs for the first time in ten years. They reached the semifinals against the Magic Johnson led Los Angeles Lakers, Game 4 of which is still shown on TV in the NBA’s Greatest Games series. Sleepy Floyd hit 12 straight field goals in the fourth quarter that gave him two NBA playoff records (29 points in a quarter, 39 in a half) and finished with 51 points in Golden State’s 129–121 win.
Karl resigned from the Warriors with 18 games left in the 1987–88 campaign, due to the frustration of losing when three of his top four scorers from the 1987 playoff team, Purvis Short, Sleepy Floyd and Joe Barry Carroll, had been traded, and the fourth, Chris Mullin went through alcohol rehabilitation and missed over a month.
Karl returned to the CBA in 1988 as coach of the Albany Patroons for a year before coaching Real Madrid in Spain for two years.
In 1990–91, Karl was back in the CBA with the Patroons where their 50–6 season, while winning all 28 home games, won coach Karl CBA coach of the year for the third time.
On February 12, 2015, after several weeks of talks and speculation, Karl agreed to a deal to become the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, after signing a four-year, $15 million contract. He was officially introduced by the Kings on February 17. In his first season as coach the Kings went 11–19 in 30 games.
On April 14, 2016, Karl was fired by the Kings after a disappointing 2015–16 season in which the Kings went 33–49.Karl was also only one game shy from coaching his 2,000th game in the NBA.
Career highlights and awards
NBA Coach of the Year (2013)
4× NBA All-Star Game head coach (1994, 1996, 1998, 2010)
Career ABA/NBA statistics
Points 1,703 (6.5 ppg)
Rebounds 369 (1.4 rpg)
Assists 795 (3.0 apg)