Alaskan Picked to Lead NBA Team
Griffin said he thinks that Dunlap’s intensity will benefit the Bobcats.
“No matter what level of player you are, you need someone in that situation to give you the drive to do what’s expected of you,” Griffin said. “Sometimes talent is not enough, especially for NBA players. Mike is the kind of guy who will get them to work hard with their God-given talents.”
Nick Stepovich played on Monroe Catholic High School teams against Lathrop teams with Dunlap as the Malemutes starting point guard.
“He had a good basketball IQ, and you could see it then,” said Stepovich, who graduated from Monroe in 1976 and now owns Soapy Smith’s restaurant in downtown Fairbanks.
“He was a leader on the court, and as a rival, we despised him,’’ Stepovich recalled. “A guy like that you want on your team.”
On Tuesday, Stepovich expressed pride in Dunlap becoming an NBA head coach and he reflected on the impact it could have on the sport of basketball in Alaska.
“That means you can do it,” Stepovich said. “It means if you strive, you can reach any level no matter where you came from.”
After graduating from Lathrop, Dunlap played collegiately in California at Pierce College in Woodland Hills (1976-78) and at Division I Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles (1978-80).
Dunlap was an Loyola Marymount assistant coach from 1980-85, and he had assistant coach stints at fellow D-I programs Iowa (1985-86), Southern California (1986-89), Arizona (2008-09) and Oregon (2009-10).
Contact Fairbanks Daily News-Miner staff writer Danny Martin at 907-459-7586.