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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rice Men's Basketball Mourns the Passing of Mike Schuler

POSTED: July 7, 2022 -- 2:45 p.m. CT

The entire Rice University family mourns the passing of former head men's basketball coach Mike Schuler. Coach Schuler passed away Wednesday, July 6.

Schuler coached the Owls from 1977-81. He coached 1,000-point scorers Ricky Pierce, Elbert Darden, and Bobby Tudor. His coaching helped Pierce and Kenny Austin reach the highest level of professional basketball, the National Basketball Association. He also coached former Rice player and head coach Willis Wilson.

Under Schuler's tutelage, Pierce became the sixth player in school history to average 20.0 points per game when he averaged 20.9 points in 1980-81, earning All-Southwest honors in 1980 and 1981.

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Following his time at South Main, Schuler made the jump to the NBA, becoming an assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets from 1981-84 and with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1983-86. He then received his first head coaching job in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers, earning NBA Coach of the Year in his first season, 1986-87. He led the Trail Blazers to the playoffs in both 1986-87 and 1987-88.

After spending one season as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, Schuler served as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers for two years. He also served as an assistant coach with Sacramento and Minnesota before finishing his career with Milwaukee.

Nicknamed “Poppop” by his family, Schuler is survived by his daughter Kimberly S. Foxx, husband Bryan Foxx, their children, Weston Michael Foxx and Madison Morgan Foxx from Elkhorn, Nebraska. Also, daughter Kristin Schuler Baker, husband Rick Baker, their children Jaxson Schuler Baker, and Jordan Brooke Baker from Phoenix.

CLICK HERE for more news and info about the Rice Owls men's basketball team.

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