Bobcats go outside box, hire St. John’s assistant Dunlap

Mike Dunlap might be the definition of “sleeper candidate” but Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan decided late Monday that he was the right man for the massive rebuilding job ahead in Charlotte.

The Bobcats were 7-59 in the abbreviated 2011-12 season, setting the NBA record for worst all-time winning percentage at .106.

Nuggets coach George Karl said Monday night that the Bobcats are getting “one of the most creative defensive minds I’ve ever worked with.” It’s likely Karl’s input held significant sway with good friend Jordan.

The Bobcats named three finalists, including former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who withdrew from consideration. Brian Shaw, assistant head coach of the Pacers, and Lakers assistant Quin Snyder were the other finalists.

Dunlap has never been a head coach in title. Dunlap, 54, was acting head coach this season at St. John’s while Steve Lavin recovered from prostate cancer surgery. Dunlap is also a former Denver Nuggets assistant.

Dunlap was offered the job Monday night, after interviewing in Charlotte with owner Michael Jordan, vice chairman Curtis Polk, president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho.

Dunlap was one of 10 candidates interviewed since the Bobcats opened the coaching search May 8, and he replaces Paul Silas, whose contract was not renewed after the season.

Shaw was considered the favorite for the job. Dunlap’s name did not emerge until Monday.

Besides his role as acting head coach at St. John’s this past season, Dunlap’s only head coaching experience was at Cal Lutheran from 1989-1994, with the Adelaide 36ers of the Australia’s pro league from 1994-1997 and at Metropolitan State College from 1997-2006.

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