Dave Joerger, head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, apparently did not hold back any emotions during his post-game interview Sunday.
The San Antonio Spurs completed their first round sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies in their playoff series 4-0, officially bringing the Grizzlies’ season to an end. Instead of focusing on what went wrong over the past four games, Joerger took his time during the post-game interview to simply praise his team and focus on what went right for them during the regular season.
Keep in mind that both Marc Gasol and Mike Conley — star players on the Grizzlies roster — were sidelined due to injuries. However, that did not stop the Grizzlies from stepping up and doing their best to battle the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 Sunday. Holding back his tears for a moment, Dave Joerger praised his team — especially Vince Carter and Matt Barnes — by saying “that’s what Grizzlies basketball is about.”
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) April 24, 2016
It was, in my 14 years in the NBA, the craziest season I’ve ever been through.” -Matt Barnes pic.twitter.com/Xj3zB4WBTi
— CAGrizPhoto (@CAGrizPhoto) April 24, 2016
As he continued praising his team, though, that was when his emotional walls caved in and he started crying like a proud coach when talking about his team or even like a sincerely proud father when talking about his children.
“These guys fought. I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of every guy that is in that locker room and has come through that locker room. This season’s been hard. It’s been really hard. And they could’ve quit…could’ve quit. Couldn’t not made the playoffs. And every day, they came out and they fought like crazy.”
Joerger laughed briefly during his statement, joking about how his emotional breakdown “was not planned.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 24, 2016
However, he continued by confirming his loyalty and appreciation for each of the players — wishing them the best in the future.
“As a community… we love our Grizzlies. We love all those guys and wish them the best as they go forward in their career and hopefully a long time with us… Thank you for a great season.”
Dave Joerger first joined the Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2007. At the time the NBA finally took notice of his coaching abilities, Joerger had already accumulated five minor league championships. He worked as an assistant coach under the leadership of Marc Iavaroni for the 2007-2008 season. Lionel Hollins promoted Joerger in 2011 to the lead assistant and he also served as the Grizzlies’ defense specialist.
Initially I was mad when Lionel Hollins was fired but this dude got the most out of his players. https://t.co/kYf1KjTMlJ
— Henny Hardaway (@88Tray) April 24, 2016
At first I was confused in why we got rid of Lionel Hollins but I really really like Dave Joerger
— Zakary (@ZakyB59) April 24, 2016
Give me Dave Joerger over that jerk Lionel Hollins every day… https://t.co/CslYSRB8nQ
— MSully10 (@MartySullivan10) April 24, 2016
The Memphis Grizzlies were able to reach the conference finals for the first time in the history of the franchise at the end of the 2013 season. However, on June 10, it was announced that Lionel Hollin would not return to the team as head coach, according to ESPN. Nearly two weeks later, Dave Joerger was hired to serve as the Grizzlies’ head coach and has maintained that position ever since.
In May of 2014, the Memphis Grizzlies gave Dave Joerger a three-year extension with a team option for a fourth year, according to NBC Sports. In regards to the extension, Joerger said in a released statement: “I look forward to building on the success we experienced this year with our core group of players that I worked closely with over the past seven years as we work towards our ultimate goal of winning a world championship.”
[Image Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images]