Coached two seasons
An assistant coach under Pat Riley and then Mike Dunleavy, he was promoted to head coach after Dunleavy left for Milwaukee. Despite the stellar play of Sedale Threatt, who had supplanted Magic Johnson at point guard, the Lakers went 39-43 in Pfund's first season and barely notched the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference. In the first round against the heavily-favored Phoenix Suns, the Lakers won the first two games on the road. Alas, the Suns stormed back to win the final three games. This was a transition period in Lakerland, as Sam Perkins was dealt to Seattle for Benoit Benjamin and the rights to rookie Doug Christie. The Lakers' youth movement continued after the season when they let veterans A.C Green and Byron Scott go to free agency.
Pfund could not right the ship the next season and frustration was evident from management on down. In January, he was suspended for one game without pay and fined $3,000 for bumping a referee in a game against the rival Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers were floundering at 27-37 when Pfund was replaced by Bill Bertka for two games before Magic Johnson took the reins for the last 16 games. The team's 33-49 record was its second-worst since moving to Los Angeles in 1960 and the Lakers failed to make the playoffs for only the fourth time in franchise history.
Pfund had averaged almost 25 points per game as senior at Wheaton College in Illinois. His father, Lee, was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945.
Feb. 12, 2011