Colorado Mesa names Mike Dunlap as new Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Colorado Mesa University has named RMAC Hall of Famer Mike Dunlap as the university’s new head men’s basketball coach, Director of Athletics Joan McDermott announced on Monday, April 15.  

Dunlap will bring an extensive and decorated coaching resume to Grand Junction, highlighted by two NCAA Division II national championships, 10 combined regular season and tournament RMAC titles, six seasons in NCAA Division I and one season in the NBA as a head coach as well as an NBA championship as an assistant coach.

“Coach Dunlap returning to Division II after an incredible tenure, spanning from top DI programs to the NBA, is a testament to his dedication to the student-athlete model,” CMU President John Marshall said. “Mike is not only an accomplished coach, but he shares our institutional values. His courage and humility will continue to elevate an already winning program and we’re excited to welcome him to Grand Junction.” 

“I am honored and excited to be joining the Maverick family,” Dunlap said. “Specifically, I want to thank President John Marshall, Joan McDermott and the CMU community. I’m also thankful for Coach Mike DeGeorge, his staff and the team for the tradition they have established of winning on and off the floor.”

Dunlap’s arrival at CMU will mark a return to the RMAC after he coached at MSU Denver from 1998-2006, leading the Roadrunners to two national titles. It also marks a reunion with McDermott, who was the athletic director of the Roadrunners during Dunlap’s tenure in Denver.

“We are thrilled to welcome a coach of Mike Dunlap’s caliber to Colorado Mesa,” McDermott said. “Mike’s experience across all levels of basketball and history of success in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference make this an exciting hire for our university and our men’s basketball program.”

Over his nine years at MSU Denver, Dunlap posted an overall record of 248-50 (.832), with a 142-29 (.830) record in the RMAC. Dunlap took the Roadrunners to the NCAA title game in his second season in 1999 before winning Division II national championships in 2000 and 2002. Dunlap was named the NABC Division II National Coach of the Year during both of his national championship-winning seasons.

Under Dunlap, MSU Denver won four regular season RMAC championships (1998, 2000, 2004, 2005), six RMAC tournament championships (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005) and five NCAA regional championships (1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005) while qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in all nine of his seasons as head coach.

Dunlap was inducted into the RMAC Hall of Fame in 2012 and MSU Denver’s Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2009, Dunlap was selected as the coach of the RMAC’s All-Century team to commemorate the conference’s 100th anniversary.

Dunlap departed the Roadrunners to serve as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets under George Karl from 2006-2008 before working as an assistant at the University of Arizona, the University of Oregon and St. John’s.

In 2012, Dunlap was hired as the head coach of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats (now known as the Hornets). Inheriting a team that went 7-59 the year before, Dunlap led the Bobcats to 21 wins in his lone season as coach and became the first coach in NBA history to triple a team’s win total from the previous season.

From 2014-2020, Dunlap was the head coach of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, a member of the West Coast Conference (WCC) in Division I and Dunlap’s alma mater. Dunlap’s 2018-19 LMU team set program records for the best start to a season at 8-0 and best one-loss start at 11-1, eventually finishing 22-12 and advancing to the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).

Most recently, Dunlap served on Mike Budenholzer’s staff as an assistant coach with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks from 2020-23, winning an NBA championship in his first season with the team in 2020-21 and working with two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Prior to his time at MSU Denver, Dunlap was the head coach at Division III California Lutheran University from 1989-1994, winning three Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championships and three SCIAC Coach of the Year awards. He then went to Australia as the head coach of the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s professional National Basketball League (NBL) from 1994-1997, advancing to three NBL semifinals and one championship game.

As a student-athlete, Dunlap played at Pierce College, a junior college in Los Angeles, from 1976-1978 and at Loyola Marymount from 1978-1980. He graduated from Loyola Marymount with a Bachelor’s degree in English before beginning his coaching career at LMU as an assistant from 1980-1985.

Dunlap was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. He and his wife Mollie have three children – Holt, Spencer and Ellie.

Dunlap takes over a Colorado Mesa men’s basketball program currently in the most successful stretch in program history. The 2023-24 Mavericks set a program record with 29 wins last season while winning the RMAC regular season title and finishing the year ranked No. 6 in the national NABC poll. The Mavericks have qualified for five consecutive NCAA Tournaments and reached the Sweet Sixteen in both 2022 and 2024.

Details on an introductory press conference will be announced at a later date.

Mike Dunlap: Year-by-Year

Coaching Experience
1980-85Loyola Marymount University, Assistant Coach
1985-86University of Iowa, Graduate Assistant
1986-89University of Southern California, Assistant Coach
1989-94California Lutheran University, Head Coach
1994-97Adelaide 36ers, Head Coach
1997-06MSU Denver, Head Coach
2006-08Denver Nuggets, Assistant Coach
2008-09University of Arizona, Associate Head Coach
2009-10University of Oregon, Associate Head Coach
2010-12St. John’s University, Assistant Coach
2012-13Charlotte Bobcats, Head Coach
2014-20Loyola Marymount University, Head Coach
2020-23Milwaukee Bucks, Assistant Coach
Playing Experience
1976-78Pierce College
1979-80Loyola Marymount University
Education:Pierce College (1978), A.A. in Science
Loyola Marymount University (1980), B.A. in English
Date of Birth:May 27, 1957 in Fairbanks, Alaska
Family:Wife – Mollie Busterud Dunlap. Children: Holt, Spencer and Ellie

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