Warriors coach Steve Kerr wins Rudy Tomjanovich Award

Tony Nguyen | Golden State Warriors
May 15, 2024

The 2023-24 NBA season is one that Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr would probably like to forget. The team struggled for much of the year and, despite a late-season push, ended with a fairly inexcusable outcome: eliminated in the first round of the play-in tournament, in a blowout loss.

Through it all, there were more than a fair share of trials and tribulations. Draymond Green had multiple violent acts, was suspended indefinitely by the NBA, and was away from the team for a month while he attended counseling. Andrew Wiggins missed extended time for the second straight year attending to a personal matter. Reports leaked that Jonathan Kuminga had lost faith in Kerr’s ability to develop him properly. Klay Thompson went through hard-to-watch struggles, putting the franchise legend’s future in doubt. And of course, in January, beloved assistant coach Dejan Milojević suffered a heart attack at a team dinner, and tragically died at the age of 46.

Kerr had every right to be grumpy, angry, and short. And at times I’m sure that he, like all of us, was. But for the most part, the future Hall of Famer did an admirable job keeping not just his composure, but his manners.

But don’t take my word for it. On Tuesday, the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA) honored Kerr with the 2023-24 Rudy Tomjanovich Award, named after the former coach of the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. In a press release, the PBWA said that the award, “honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with the media and fans, as well as his excellence on the court.”

The award has been around since the 2010-11 season (though it took a two-year hiatus during the pandemic), and Kerr is the first three-time winner, also being honored in 2014-15 (his first year with the Warriors) and 2017-18. Only one other coach has won the award multiple times: Doc Rivers, who was honored in 2011-12 with the Boston Celtics, and again in 2018-19 with the Los Angeles Clippers. Last year the award was won by former Warriors assistant coach and current Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown.

Per the PBWA, Kerr was one of five finalists for the award, joining the Lakers Darvin Ham, the Minnesota Timberwolves Chris Finch, the Orlando Magic’s Jamahl Mosley, and the Denver Nuggets Michael Malone.

Congrats, Kerr. It may not mean as much as a deep playoff run, but it’s a pretty special and telling accolade.