After parts of 17 seasons as an NBA head coach, Nate McMillan finds his underdog Atlanta Hawks just three wins from The Finals, the furthest one of his teams has ever advanced in the postseason.
Not bad for someone who only became the Hawks' interim head coach in March after Lloyd Pierce's dismissal.
On that front, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin hinted after Atlanta's road win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals that the team will be dropping McMillan's interim tag following its playoff run.
"Nate asked - one of the conditions of taking the job is we do this after the season concludes," Koonin said on 92.9 The Game's "Dukes & Bell" on Wednesday. "I'm so pleased on June 23 (that) our season's not over. It is for 26 other teams; it's not over for us.
"So, everything good happens to people who deserve it and will happen in time."
The Hawks were just 14-20 when McMillan took control; they ended the regular season on a 27-11 run to finish 41-31, good for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
McMillan boasts a 688-599 (.535) record as a head coach following sideline stints with the then-Seattle SuperSonics (with whom he played 12 seasons), the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Indiana Pacers. The 56-year-old ranks fourth among active head coaches and 21st in NBA history with 1,287 games coached.
McMillan and the Hawks will look to extend their series lead when Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals tips off Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET.