Cavs: Ranking every head coach in franchise history

Tyronn Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Tyronn Lue, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /
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John Beilein, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

The Cleveland Cavaliers played their first game in 1970, a new expansion team whose name came from a competition that also included “Foresters” and “Presidents” as finalists. They hired successful college coach Bill Fitch, who led them to a 15-67 record that secured the Cavs the No. 1 overall pick the next year, which they used on Austin Carr.

52 seasons later, the Cavs have had a long and tumultuous history, from low points in the 1970s and early 2000s to the very mountaintop in 2016, when another No. 1 overall pick in LeBron James brought Cleveland its first championship.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had 23 head coaches in franchise history. How should every Cavs coach be ranked from worst to best?

J.B. Bickerstaff is the current coach of the Cavaliers, the 23rd in franchise history. Those men roaming the sideline have ranged from Hall of Fame coaches like Lenny Wilkens to interim head coaches who never coached anywhere else. None have lasted as long as Fitch’s nine seasons and 738 games, and in fact, one interim coach only made it three games.

Who have been the best coaches in franchise history? Let’s walk down the list from 23rd to 1st, pulling back the curtain of Cleveland franchise history and bringing back some memories, good and bad, for those longtime fans. Things begin with Bob Kloppenburg and his fellow interim coaches.