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Ex-Wildcat Steve Kerr leads Golden State Warriors to record season

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Nhat V. Meyer
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts to a call during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets in Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday, May 23, 2015. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

Arizona Wildcats alumnus Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors will be looking to make history Wednesday night when they aim to break the NBA record for wins in a season. 

The 21-year-old record was set by the historic 1995-96 Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Kerr himself went 72-10 on their way to the first of three straight championships.

From the beginning, Golden State has been the team to beat and has drawn comparisons to the Bulls all season as the team flirted with the record. The Warriors started off the year 24-0—a record in of itself—and since then have been on watch all season to win 73 games.

As a member of both teams, Kerr has made his alma mater proud since he left Arizona. With all of the success he has accrued over his professional career, a question comes to mind: Is Steve Kerr the most successful Wildcat athlete alumnus?

More: Take a look at Lute Olson’s coaching tree, from John Pastner to Luke Walton.

Well, it’s a tough argument. Many Wildcats have gone on to do great things in their professional athletic careers. Rob Gronkowski is probably the best tight end in football right now and is two years removed from a Super Bowl. 

Lance Briggs was a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Chicago Bears and Tedy Bruschi was a three-time Super Bowl winning linebacker for the early 2000s Patriots dynasty.

In basketball, players like Sean Elliot and Kerr’s current player, Andre Iguodala, have seen all-star success while Iguodala was last season’s NBA Finals MVP. Elliot was a teammate of Kerr’s at Arizona and in San Antonio where they both were members of the 1999 NBA championship team.

Kenny Lofton, Kerr’s teammate at Arizona, saw a baseball career where he was a six-time all-star. Terry Francona won two World Series, including helping to end the 86-year World Series drought for the Boston Red Sox in 2004, as their manager. 

The competition, to say the least, is tough.

However, Kerr’s case is a strong one to make as Arizona’s most successful athletic alumnus. Kerr has won six NBA titles, five as a player and his sixth as a first-year head coach of last year’s Warriors team. 

While never an all-star, Kerr had a significant impact on those three-peat Bulls teams. In his five seasons with Chicago, Kerr played about 23 minutes per game while scoring eight points a game and shooting about 48 percent from 3. 

He played alongside NBA legends like the aforementioned Jordan, Pippen and Rodman while also helping David Robinson and Tim Duncan to their first titles with the Spurs.

His post-playing career might even top his NBA career. The Warriors were a team primed with talent, but just needed that extra push to get them to the finals. Kerr did what former head coach Mark Jackson couldn’t with this squad, and his Warriors are completely changing the NBA. 

The Warriors are the best offense in the league, focusing on the 3 and utilizing the small-ball lineup at times to help run their incredibly fast-paced offense. 

He’s formed Draymond Green into an all-star and implemented Green as a five when the Warriors break out this small-ball lineup. 

In short, once Kerr came into the Warriors organization, he pushed them over the hump to a championship while also helping transform them into the record-seeking team they will be on Wednesday.

And to top it all off, he’s even been a play-by-play announcer for the NBA 2K series franchise. Life doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

With all of his success, it’s hard to find any outlier of Arizona’s athletic program that has been more successful than Kerr, and as his Warriors prepare for history on Wednesday, Kerr’s mark on the game of basketball continues to be made. 

And those in Tucson are proud to call him a Wildcat for life. 


Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter


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