NEW YORK, June 5, 2022—Mike Fratello, a basketball lifer who interspersed a successful coaching career with a successful broadcasting career, is the recipient of the 2022 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
“Mike Fratello’s accomplishments are well documented, both as a coach and a broadcaster,” said Indiana Pacers Head Coach and National Basketball Coaches Association President Rick Carlisle. “Sixteen years as an NBA Head Coach, 647 regular season wins, NBA Coach of the Year honors, Head Coach of the Ukraine National Team and multiple Emmys all combine to represent a lifetime devoted to basketball. Congratulations to Mike on the 2022 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“Chuck Daly was a special man and a special coach — and this is a special award,” said Mike Fratello. “It means so much to me because Chuck was a mentor, a close friend, and a trusted confidant during my NBA coaching career and beyond. It is an honor to be recognized by my peers, whom I respect and admire. I am proud to join the ranks of the previous recipients — all exceptional coaches and extraordinary individuals.
I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to the numerous people who have enabled me to receive this award, including the late NBCA Executive Director Michael Goldberg; current NBCA Executive Director David Fogel and NBCA President Coach Rick Carlisle for their vision and direction; the late NBA Commissioner David Stern and current Commissioner Adam Silver for their input and support; the NBA coaches I worked under, Hubie Brown and Kevin Loughery, who opened the door to my NBA career; the owners and general managers who gave me the opportunity; all my assistant coaches who helped me succeed and became dear friends; the many players who trusted me to coach them and who have always held a special place in my heart; and the fans who have supported the NBA teams throughout the years.
Many thanks to the National Basketball Coaches Association and the Selection Committee for presenting me with the 2022 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award. I am forever grateful.”
In 16 seasons as an NBA Head Coach with three different franchises, Fratello compiled a 667-548 (.549) record. His 667 wins and 1,215 games coached each ranked 17th all-time when he left the Memphis Grizzlies in 2006. His teams had records of .500 or better in 13 of his 16 seasons and made the playoffs 11 times.
Fratello’s coaching career began in 1970 as a graduate assistant at the University of Rhode Island under Coach Tom Carmody. A three-year stint as an assistant to Coach Lou Campanelli at James Madison University came next, followed by a three-year stop at Villanova University under Coach Rollie Massimino.
Fratello then began his NBA coaching career in 1978 as an assistant to his mentor, Coach Hubie Brown, with the Atlanta Hawks. He worked with Brown for four seasons in Atlanta and then another season with the New York Knicks (1982-83).
In 1983, Fratello was named Head Coach of the Atlanta Hawks, coaching them for seven seasons and compiling a record of 324-250. He was voted NBA Coach of the Year for the 1985-86 season, the first of four consecutive seasons of 50 or more wins. The Hawks won the Central Division in 1986-87 and made the playoffs in five of Fratello’s seven seasons. He was also selected as the Head Coach for the Eastern Conference team in the 1988 NBA All-Star Game.
In 1990, Fratello made his first foray into national TV, joining Marv Albert as the lead color analyst on the NBA on NBC for three seasons. It was during this time that Albert christened Fratello the “Czar of the Telestrator.” Albert and Fratello also called all the games of the “Dream Team” at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
The Cleveland Cavaliers hired Fratello as Head Coach in 1993 and over the next six seasons he led the Cavs to a 248-212 record and four playoff berths. He also served as a TNT playoff analyst for several seasons.
After the 1998-99 season, Turner Sports named Fratello lead NBA analyst, a position he held until the Memphis Grizzlies named him Head Coach in 2004. He inherited a 5-11 team and led them to 40 wins and the playoffs (2004-05), and to 49 wins and the playoffs again in 2005-06.
In addition to NBC, TNT, and NBA TV, Fratello has worked for several regional networks covering the Cavaliers, Clippers, Heat, Nets, and Pistons.
In 2011, Fratello was named Head Coach of the Ukraine National Team and coached them in the 2011 European Championships. In 2012, Fratello coached Ukraine in the FIBA Eurobasket 2013 Qualifying Tournament, from which they advanced to FIBA Eurobasket 2013 the next year. Ukraine was ranked 24thout of the 24 competing national teams, but Fratello led them to a surprising 6th place finish, earning Ukraine an automatic bid to the 2014 FIBA World Cup, the first in Ukrainian history. He turned over the coaching reins to Ukraine native Yevgen Murzin following the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Fratello is a member of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and the Fairleigh Dickinson University Hall of Fame (Al LoBalbo Award).
“Mike Fratello’s knowledge of the game and ease in communicating it are the foundation of his successes in a coaching and broadcasting career spanning over 30 years,” said David Fogel, National Basketball Coaches Association Executive Director and General Counsel, “Mike had a winning record with all three NBA teams he coached and his records still rank among the all-time leaders today. Congratulations to Coach Fratello on this well-deserved and prestigious recognition.”
The National Basketball Coaches Association’s Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award honors the memory of Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly, who, over an outstanding NBA coaching career, set a standard for integrity, competitive excellence and tireless promotion of NBA basketball. The award is determined annually by a Selection Committee comprised of some of the most respected coaches and basketball executives in the game, including Bernie Bickerstaff, Billy Cunningham, Joe Dumars, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, Donnie Walsh, and Lenny Wilkens.
Prior recipients are Larry Brown (2021), Del Harris (2020), Frank Layden (2019), Doug Moe (2018), Al Attles and Hubie Brown (2017), K.C. Jones and Jerry Sloan (2016), Dick Motta (2015), Bernie Bickerstaff (2014), Bill Fitch (2013), Pat Riley (2012), Lenny Wilkens (2011), Jack Ramsay and Tex Winter (2010), and Tommy Heinsohn (2009).
About the NBCA: The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) is the labor association that represents basketball coaches in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Founded in 1976 by legendary Boston Celtics player and coach Tommy Heinsohn, the NBCA consists of all NBA Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, and alumni, and works closely with the NBA on all matters that pertain to the coaching profession.