Spurs announce death of Erin Popovich, wife of head coach Gregg Popovich


PHOENIX, AZ – DECEMBER 15: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs jestures during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on December 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Spurs defeated the Suns 107-92. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The wife of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has died. She was 67.

The Spurs confirmed Erin Popovich’s death Wednesday. The team didn’t provide further details.

“We mourn the loss of Erin,” Spurs general manager RC Buford said in a team statement. “She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us.”

The Popovichs have two children and two grandchildren. They met at the Air Force Academy in 1970s when he was an assistant coach for the Falcons. Erin’s father, Jim Conboy, was Air Force’s head athletic trainer.

Gregg Popovich has coached San Antonio since 1996, leading the Spurs to five NBA titles. San Antonio will face Golden State on Thursday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Popovich ran the Spurs’ practice Wednesday. The Warriors lead the series 2-0.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James learned about Erin Popovich’s death after the Cavs beat the Pacers in Game 2 of their playoffs series. James struggled to control his emotions after a sideline reporter asked him about it.

Some viewers suggested that the news blindsided James, but he set the record straight Wednesday night, saying sideline reporter Allie LaForce asked him in advance if they could discuss it.

“Allie LaForce told me she was going to ask me the question and if it was OK. Once I started talking about it on-air, actually my emotions just kind of took over and that was just my emotions coming straight from the heart about the late Erin Popovich,” he said.

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