David William Cowens (born October 25, 1948, in Newport, Kentucky) is a retired American professional Basketball player and NBA head coach. At 6'9", he played the Center (basketball) position. He was inducted into the Basketball in 1991. He is currently an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons.
College career Edit
Cowens played collegiate basketball at Florida State University from 1967 to 1970. He scored 1,479 points in 78 games at Florida State, a 19.0 points per game, and ranks among Florida State's top 10 all-time scoring leaders.
He is the all-time Florida State leading rebounder with 1,340 rebounds (17.2 rebounds per game). He holds the team record for best seasonal rebound average (17.5 in the 1968-1969 season). He once grabbed 31 rebounds (second best all-time) against LSU in the 1968-69 season.
He was named The Sporting News All-America second team in 1970. His number now hangs in the rafters of the Donald L. Tucker Center.
NBA career Edit
Despite some critics who felt Cowens was too small to play center, Cowens was selected as the fourth overall pick by the Boston Celtics during the 1970 NBA Draft, largely at the recommendation of former Celtics center Bill Russell.
From time to time, perhaps as a way of counter-balancing his zealous commitment to the game of basketball and the Celtics, Cowens exhibited a few unconventional traits:
- In 1974, after the Celtics won the NBA championship over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks, he slept on a park bench on Boston Common, purportedly after wandering throughout the neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Boston to celebrate the victory with Celtics fans and an entourage of admirers and devotees.
- During the early part of the 1977 season, Cowens took a leave of absence from the Celtics and worked as a cab driver. He explained that he just needed "to clear his head" and that he was "suffering from burnout."
Post-NBA career Edit
He began his coaching career by serving as a combined player/coach for the Boston Celtics during the 1978-79 season, but he quit coaching after the season, and returned as a full-time player before retiring in 1980. However, he was coaxed out of retirement by the Milwaukee Bucks, who were then coached by his former Celtics teammate, Don Nelson. The Celtics still held his rights at the time so the Bucks gave up Quinn Buckner as compensation. Cowens played for the Bucks during the 1982-83 season before retiring for good.
He has also coached the Bay State Bombardiers of the Continental Basketball Association in 1984-85. He returned to the NBA coaching ranks by serving as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs in 1994-96, and became head coach of the Charlotte Hornets from 1996-99 and had a brief tenure as head coach with the Golden State Warriors from 1999-2001 which only lasted 105 games.
In 1990, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jim Loscutoff asked that his jersey number (#18) not be retired so that a future Celtic could wear it - the number 18 was later retired in Cowens' honor.
On May 25, 2005, he was named head coach of the newly-formed Chicago franchise in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The team, known as the Chicago Sky, began play in 2006 at the UIC Pavilion, located in the University of Illinois at Chicago. After only winning five games in the 2006 season, however, Cowens left the Sky to join the coaching staff of the Detroit Pistons on September 12, 2006.
There is a road named after him in his hometown of Newport, Kentucky: "Dave Cowens Drive".
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