John Dewitt Kuester, Jr.[1] (/ˈkjuːstər/; born February 6, 1955) is an American basketball coach and scout.

John Kuester
John Kuester.jpg
Kuester coaches the Detroit Pistons in 2009.
Personal information
Born (1955-02-06) February 6, 1955 (age 65)
Richmond, Virginia
Listed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolBenedictine (Richmond, Virginia)
CollegeNorth Carolina (1973–1977)
NBA draft1977 / Round: 3 / Pick: 53rd overall
Selected by the Kansas City Kings
Playing career1977–1980
PositionPoint guard
Number5, 10
Coaching career1980–present
Career history
As player:
1977–1978Kansas City Kings
1978–1979Denver Nuggets
1979–1980Indiana Pacers
As coach:
1980–1981Richmond (asst.)
1981–1983Boston University (asst.)
1983–1985Boston University
1985–1990George Washington
19951997Boston Celtics (asst.)
19972003Philadelphia 76ers (asst.)
2003–2004Detroit Pistons (asst.)
2004–2005New Jersey Nets (asst.)
2005–2006Philadelphia 76ers (asst.)
2006–2007Orlando Magic (asst.)
20072009Cleveland Cavaliers (asst.)
20092011Detroit Pistons
20112012Los Angeles Lakers (asst.)
Stats at

He played in the NBA from 1977 to 1980 and then coached in the college ranks before moving on to the NBA sidelines as an assistant. Kuester was named head coach of the Detroit Pistons on July 9, 2009. An agreement was made after the Pistons and their first choice, Avery Johnson, broke off contract talks.[2] Kuester coached the Pistons for two seasons.

He was a 6'2" (1.88 m) and 180 lb (82 kg) guard and played collegiately with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels from 1973–77.[3][4]

Playing careerEdit

High SchoolEdit

Kuester played four years at Benedictine for legendary coach Warren Rutledge. Leading his team to three consecutive state Catholic League titles, the Cadets were 31-3 his senior year.


Kuester played four seasons with the UNC Tar Heels under head coach Dean Smith, for whom he won two ACC championships and helped reach the NCAA Tournament four times, including an appearance in the 1977 NCAA Finals,[4] in which they lost to Marquette 67–59.[5] In both his junior and senior year (1976 and 1977), Kuester was voted UNC's best defensive player. Also in his senior year, as was voted Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament and the NCAA East Regionals.[4]


Kuester was selected with the 9th pick of the third round (53rd overall) in the 1977 NBA draft by the Kansas City Kings. He played 78 games for them in 1977–78, averaging 4.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.[1] In his second and third (and final) seasons he played with the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers, respectively.

Coaching careerEdit

After his playing days, Kuester began a basketball coaching career, volunteering as an assistant at the University of Richmond in 1980 to 1981.[4] From 1981 to 1983 he was an assistant to Rick Pitino at Boston University, before succeeding him in 1983 as the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I.[3][4][6]

From 1985 to 1990 he was the head coach at George Washington University. His 1988–1989 Colonials team compiled a 1-27 record, one of the worst ever in NCAA history.[4]

He continued his career on the sidelines in the NBA, joining the Boston Celtics in 1990 and serving as an assistant from 1995 to 1997,[4] and from 1997 to 2003 an assistant for the Philadelphia 76ers under head coach Larry Brown. In 2003–04, Kuester followed Brown to the Detroit Pistons where he also served as an assistant. In 2004–05 Kuester was an assistant with the New Jersey Nets,[3] and returned to the 76ers once more in 2005–06. In July 2006, Kuester was named as an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic.[7]

In August 2007, Kuester was named to Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown's staff, replacing the departing Kenny Natt.[8]

In July 2009, Kuester was hired as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, replacing Michael Curry.[9]

On June 5, 2011, Kuester was fired from his position as head coach of the Detroit Pistons.[10]

On June 29, 2011, Kuester was hired as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers under new head coach Mike Brown. Since his days in Cleveland, this marked the second time Kuester has worked as an assistant coach under Brown.

On September 7, 2012, Kuester was named an advance scout for the Lakers.[11]


Kuester and wife, Tricia, have a son, John III, and a daughter, Katelyn.[4] Katelyn ("Katie") played basketball at St. Joseph's University.[12][13]

Head coaching recordEdit


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Boston University Terriers (Eastern College Athletic Conference-North) (1983–1995)
1983–84 Boston University 16–13 9–5 T–2nd
1984–85 Boston University 15–15 9–7 5th
Boston University: 31–28 18–12
George Washington Colonials (Atlantic 10 Conference) (1985–1990)
1985–86 George Washington 12–16 7–11 6th
1986–87 George Washington 10–19 6–12 8th
1987–88 George Washington 13–15 7–11 T–6th
1988–89 George Washington 1–27 1–17 10th
1989–90 George Washington 14–17 6–12 7th
George Washington: 50–94 27–63
Total: 81–122


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Detroit 2009–10 82 27 55 .329 5th in Central Missed Playoffs
Detroit 2010–11 82 30 52 .366 4th in Central Missed Playoffs
Career 164 57 107 .348


  1. ^ a b John Kuester statistics,
  2. ^ Sources: Pistons turn to Kuester
  3. ^ a b c Nets Name John Kuester Assistant Coach, July 23, 2004
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Orlando Magic Basketball Operations" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-25. @ (2.63 MiB); retrieved August 14, 2007
  5. ^ 1977 NCAA Basketball Tournament Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine,
  6. ^ "Philadelphia 76ers Front Office Staff" (PDF)., (1.35 MiB); retrieved August 14, 2007
  7. ^ Orlando magic hire John Kuester as assistant coach, July 6, 2006
  8. ^ Cavs interested in retired guard Allan Houston,, published August 12, 2007
  9. ^ Kuester: 'There is no magic formula',, published July 10, 2009
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Lakers hire Eddie Jordan, Steve Clifford and Bernie Bickerstaff as assistant coaches". Archived from the original on 2016-09-28. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  12. ^ Bayou Prospect Watch,, by Glenn Nelson, posted July 28, 2007
  13. ^ SJU player profile Archived 2009-05-29 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit