Best Coach - 2006
Mario Elie, Warriors assistant coach
It's not a question of if; it's a matter of when: Elie will be an NBA head coach within the next two years. Mark our words. And whoever hires him whether someone from the Warriors or another team will end up looking like a genius. Elie, who won three NBA titles during his playing career, brings brains, intensity, and an unstinting work ethic to his job as one of Mike Montgomery's assistants. During the long slog that was Golden State's '05–'06 season, Elie helped keep the team's collective spirit afloat, his raspy, booming voice urging players to fight on even when the playoffs were only a mirage. Golden State suit-in-chief Chris Mullin has made clear his support of Montgomery, despite the team's struggles during the coach's two-year tenure. But should the Warriors falter early next season, don't be surprised to see Elie receive a promotion. That is, if another team hasn't already poached him.