NBA

George Karl Passes Phil Jackson on NBA's All-Time Coaching Wins List

Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2016

Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl surpassed the legendary Phil Jackson for fifth on the NBA's all-time wins list Monday with a 116-104 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA announced Karl's milestone accomplishment on Twitter:

Karl's 1,156th victory puts him 54 wins shy of Pat Riley for No. 4 on the list. 

The 63-year-old head coach is in his second year with the Kings after taking over with 30 games left in the 2014-15 season. He is just 25-39 with Sacramento but has won at every other stop during his career.

Over a 27-year span as a head coach, Karl has taken the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets to the playoffs. His best season came during the 1995-96 campaign, when he won 64 regular-season games with Seattle, falling to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games in the NBA Finals.

University of Nevada head basketball coach Eric Musselman tweeted out a quote attributed to Karl that might explain some of his success:

That philosophy has allowed Karl to hear his name mentioned among some NBA greats:

All-Time NBA Coaching Wins List: Top 5
NameWinsLossesSeasons
Don Nelson1,3351,0631977-2010
Lenny Wilkens1,3321,1551970-2005
Jerry Sloan1,2218031980-2011
Pat Riley1,2106941982-2008
George Karl1,1567951985-current
Basketball-Reference.com

If he can coach into next season, he has a great shot at surpassing Riley and possibly Jerry Sloan for No. 3 on the list.

Karl may retire without winning an NBA championship, but there is no doubt that he will go down as one of the all-time greats.

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