Mike Dunlap

Mike Dunlap Credit: Getty Images

Mike Dunlap earned the praise of college coaches for the way he led the St. John's basketball team in head coach Steve Lavin's absence while recovering from prostate cancer.

Now, he's getting his reward.

The longtime assistant is the surprise choice to lead the Charlotte Bobcats rebuilding process, according to St. John's. He will be unveiled by the Bobcats in a news conference today, ESPN reported.

"Mike's selection as the Charlotte Bobcats' head coach is a well-deserved honor," Lavin said in a statement. "To make the unprecedented jump from college assistant to NBA head coach is testament to both Mike's abilities as a teacher and our basketball program's marked improvement over the past 27 months."

Dunlap was reportedly out of contention for the Bobcats job last week, with former Utah coach Jerry Sloan, Indiana assistant Brian Shaw and Lakers assistant Quin Snyder named the three finalists, but he re-entered the discussion once Sloan dropped out, and impressed Bobcats owner Michael Jordan in his second interview.

This season, the Red Storm went 11-17 under Dunlap, 55. However, in addition to losing their head coach for all but four games, the Johnnies ended the season with just six scholarship players. Dunlap's work earned him praise from fellow Big East coaches, as well as the players on the St. John's team. 

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