Paul Woolpert returns to the SunDome sidelines as Head Coach and General Manager of the Yakima SunKings this season. In 2018, Woolpert led Yakima to the best record in the NAPB during the regular season, 24-8, earning the #1 seed in the NAPB Playoffs. After defeating Kansas City in the first round, 2-1, Woolpert led the SunKings to the 2018 NAPB Championship, sweeping the Albany Patroons, 2-0, in the Finals. His efforts earned him 2018 NAPB Coach of the Year honors. Last season, the SunKings had a .750 overall winning percentage and a .688 road (11-5) winning percentage. Both were the second best in team history. Yakima’s home (13-3) winning percentage, .813, was the third best in franchise history.
Woolpert has coached the Yakima SunKings for nine seasons, compiling a 239-145 regular season record (.622) and an 18-11 (.621) playoff mark, while leading the team to one North American Premier Basketball League (2018) and three Continental Basketball Association Titles (2000, 2006 and 2007). Woolpert won two consecutive Stan Novak CBA Coach of the Year awards (2007 and 2008) and won three straight CBA All-Star Games.
In 13 years, Woolpert owns a 312-229 (.577) in the regular season and has went 19-14 (.576) in the playoffs. His teams have qualified for the playoffs in 9-of-12 seasons (The CBA suspended play halfway through the 2000-2001 season) and have won four Championships in as many tries.
Woolpert served as lead assistant coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Developmental League (now G-League) for two seasons, 2015-17. During his time in LA, the D-Fenders went 61-39, making the playoffs both seasons, losing the 2016 D-League Finals to the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
He spent the 2014-15 season as the lead assistant coach for the Perth Wildcats of Australia’s National Basketball League. The Wildcats qualified for the NBL Playoffs after finishing fourth during the regular season.
For two seasons, 2011-12 and 2012-13, Woolpert was the head coach of the NBL’s Townville Crocodiles. During his time in Townsville, the club went 25-28, qualifying for the 2012 playoffs.
Woolpert was head coach of the D-League Tulsa 66ers, an affiliate team of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, in 2008–09.
During the 2007-08 season, Woolpert’s SunKings set all-time CBA records for the best winning percentage in a season, .895, and for the highest quarter point average, 5.50qpg. His team also tied the league record for most 7-0 victories with eight. Along with these records, the SunKings won 43 games, the most ever in a 48-game schedule. The SunKings started the season off with a 14-game winning streak, lost a game, and then rattled off 17 more wins, losing one game in 77 days.
In 2007-08, Woolpert earned several other distinctions and achievements, including his 248th CBA coaching victory and his 200th win as the SunKings' head coach. Woolpert's 248 victories place him fifth all-time in CBA coaching wins. He trails only Mauro Panaggio(446), Dan Panaggio (313), Eric Musselman (270), and Flip Saunders (253) in all-time coaching wins. He is ninth in games coached, 408, and is seventh in all-time winning percentage, .608, and is 11th in all-time playoff winning percentage, .536. Woolpert’s SunKings set a team record for most road wins in a season, 21, and tied the team mark for most home wins, 22.
En route to the 2007 CBA Title, Woolpert led the SunKings to a league-best record of 35-13 and set team records for best winning percentage, .729, best home winning percentage, .875, most consecutive games won, 11, most consecutive games won at home, 14, and most consecutive road wins, 5. During the season, Woolpert was named CBA Coach of the Month twice and moved into the Top 10 in All-Time CBA coaching wins, 205, and recorded his 172nd win as SunKings Head Coach.
In 2005-06, Woolpert led the SunKings to a CBA-best 31-17 record. Advancing to the 2006 CBA Finals, vs. the Gary Steelheads, Yakama lost Game 1 at home before taking the final two games in Gary to win the franchise’s unprecedented fourth CBA Championship. In 1999-00, Woolpert led Yakima to a 33-23 mark, the second best record in franchise history and led the SunKings to the CBA Championship with a 109-93 win over the La Crosse Bobcats. On December 19, 1999, Woolpert became the winningest coach in club history with a 106-97 victory at Rockford, surpassing his mentor Mo McHone on Yakima's all-time win list.
Woolpert originally came to the SunKings during the 1994-1995 season as McHone's assistant coach. The two led the SunKings to the single best season record (36-20) in franchise history and the club's first CBA Championship, defeating Pittsburgh in the CBA Finals in six games. After spending two-plus seasons as an assistant coach in Sioux Falls, Woolpert returned to Yakima as head coach on January 28, 1998 and led the team to a 14-10 finish. After leading the SunKings into the CBA Playoffs after the 1998-99 season, he put together the impressive roster that won the 2000 CBA Championship.
He went to Sioux Falls in 2001-2002, leading the Skyforce to a league-best 33-23 record despite losing 12 starters throughout the season. Decimated by player losses, Sioux Falls fell to Rockford in the American Conference Finals.
In his CBA coaching career, Woolpert coached several players that went on to play in the NBA, including: Raja Bell, Chucky Brown, Anthony Carter, Anthony Goldwire, Reggie Jordan, Randy Livingston, Eldridge Recasner, Larry Robinson, Jason Sasser, Lonnie Baxter, Horatio Llamas, Devin Gray, Mark Blount, Gary Grant, Tremaine Fowlkes, Henry James, Art Long, Leon Smith, and Ronny Turiaf.
He began his career as a scout and video coordinator for the Seattle SuperSonics where he spent eight seasons. He also worked as a scout for the Portland Trail Blazers and the Atlanta Hawks. He has also coached the San Antonio Spurs summer league team, has been a head coach in the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA), and coached a touring team in China in 2005.
Woolpert is the son of Hall of Fame (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame – 1992 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame – 2001) Coach Phil Woolpert, who coached Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, and the University of San Francisco to an NCAA Championship in 1955 and again in 1956, and taking third in 1957. At the time the youngest college basketball coach, 40 years of age, to win a national championship, Phil Woolpert also won National Coach of the Year honors in 1955 and 1956.
Paul is married to wife, Nicole, and resides in Yakima with their dog, Guinness.