Erin Popovich, late wife of 5-time NBA champion, Gregg Popovich, three-time NBA Coach of the Year and four-time NBA All-Star Game head coach, was a driving force behind her husband’s achievements in the world of basketball. The connection that helped him land the head coaching job stood beside him, accusing him of being less confrontational in interviews. The kind-hearted woman died at the age of 67.
Erin Popovich Bio
Erin Popovich (née Conboy) was born on January 5, 1951. She was the daughter of Jim Conboy, an Air Force Academy athletic coach. Her father was the academy’s head coach for 43 years and gave his medical advice and wisdom to all cadets. However, his particular focus was on basketball and soccer players. Her father was an avid athlete and in 1979 won the world title in modern pentathlon, the gold medal.
He was allowed to coach the Falcons football team for four seasons that led them to their first Western Athletic Conference title in 1998. In October of that year, Jim Conboy died in a Colorado Springs hospital. While Erin Popovich’s father was the Air Force Academy’s athletic trainer, her husband (whom she had not yet married) was also at the academy for his education.
Erin Popovich graduated from Colorado State. She had been friends with Betsy Gwin — the daughter of Air Force Brigadier General Robert McDermott — since their second grade. It is not wrong to say that thanks to his wife, Gregg Popovich was able to open the window to one of the most successful NBA coaches.
The General eventually led a consortium that bought the San Antonio Spurs basketball team and he needed a coach to oversee the team’s training. Thanks to the encouragement of his daughter Betsy and the fact that he knew Erin Popovich very well, Robert McDermott decided to hire Gregg as a coach. The rest, as they say, is history.
Gregg Popovich graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1970 and by that time he had met Erin. They had started dating, and on October 10, 1976, they tied the knot in El Paso, Texas. Shortly after graduating from the academy, he decided to return to the academy as an assistant coach.
This lasted from 1973 to 1979. It was not until 1988 that he became an assistant coach for Spurs and in 1996 he finally became head coach. His wife Erin Popovich encouraged him the whole time and was always there to encourage him whenever he felt insecure or about the team’s abilities.
illness, cause of death
For years, Erin Popovich struggled with a diseasetype unknown to almost everyone. Only a select few family members knew about her health condition, but they did not know how far along it was. It was something the Popovich family decided they would keep to themselves. The San Antonio Express-News reported that she had died from a respiratory condition she had suffered from since the mid-’90s. This also explains why she usually says she is at home and healthy when she hasn’t been to events with her husband.
Erin Popovich died on April 10, 2018. The night after her death, Spurs had a match to play. Her husband typically did not share the event with anyone. There was not a moment of silence, there was no mention of her death. No one shared his condolences, and even if everyone in court was willing to join in the grief, Gregg Popovich decided to keep it a secret.
This was typical of the Popovich family. Erin Popovich, during her lifetime and married to her husband, totally shied away from the limelight. The Spurs team only heard bits and pieces of who she was, but they never knew exactly who she was. And that’s how she wanted it. She chose to save her husband from the background and make him the center of attention.
Upon the announcement of her passing, several players, coaches, fans and teams have expressed their love and condolences to the Popovich family. Erin Popovich was survived by her husband and their two children; Mickey Charles, 40, and Jill Anne, 39.