USF alum and NBA player Bill Cartwright has taken over as the head coach of the Mexican national basketball team. On Sept. 24, it was announced that Cartwright would be replacing Sergio Valdeolmillos, who was Mexico’s head coach since 2011 and coached the team to its first FIBA World Cup appearance in 40 years.
Cartwright is best known as the center for the NBA’s Chicago Bulls during their 1991-93 NBA Championship three-peat. Before he was playing next to Michael Jordan, however, Cartwright was a member of the USF basketball team from 1976 to 1979. Cartwright was a star player for the Dons, and averaged 24.5 points and 15.7 rebounds on 60 percent shooting in his senior year. He was also a two-time second team all-American selection, and led USF to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two trips to the Sweet Sixteen.
Cartwright has had previous experience in coaching as well, if only a little. He was the head coach of his former Chicago Bulls from 2001 to 2003, but was let go after three lackluster seasons. Since then, his only other coaching job has been with Osaka Evessa, a Japanese basketball team in the Basketball Japan League. After taking over midway through the 2012-13 season, when Osaka Evessa was just 5-19, Cartwright showed promise as a coach by leading the team to a 10-game winning streak.
Cartwright will have to get right to work with the Mexican national team, with their first challenge coming at the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games, a multi-sport event that will take place from Nov. 14 to Nov. 30. Given that Mexico won their first ever FIBA Americas Championship gold medal last year, there will likely be high expectations for the team, and for Cartwright as the new head coach.