Coached two seasons
No one has logged more games or minutes on the Lakers bench than Bill Bertka, except no one knows it. Despite four decades with the organization, he remained in anonymity because practically all of his time was spent as an assistant to Bill Sharman, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.
His Lakers' head coaching career was a grand total of three games -- all on an interim basis -- over a span of six seasons. His first stint, in relief of Randy Pfund toward the end of the 1993-94 season, lasted two games. The Lakers went 1-1, winning, 112-109, at Dallas and losing, 113-107, at Houston. He was replaced by Magic Johnson for the final 16 games. His second stint was a mere blip -- one game in 1998-99 after Del Harris was fired. The Lakers beat the Clippers, 115-100, in Anaheim to start a 10-game winning streak. The next day, Kurt Rambis took over and he coached the remaining 37 games of a season shortened due to the NBA lockout.
Bertka has "Hot" Rod Hundley to thank for his lifetime of service to the purple and gold. In 1968, the former West Virginia star suggested the Lakers hire Bertka and he became a full-time scout.
Feb. 12, 2011