Fifteen-year NBA veteran and Olympic gold medalist Joe Kleine enters his eighth season with the Trojans in 2014-15. The No. 6 overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, Kleine brings unique knowledge and experience to the UALR coaching staff, having played with, and against, some of the greatest players in NBA history.
A two-time All-Southwest Conference selection at the University of Arkansas, Kleine was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medal team and won an NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. Kleine joined the UALR coaching staff on March 6, 2007, and has been instrumental in the development of UALR's post players over the past four years. In 2011, Kleine helped UALR to the program's first-ever Sun Belt Tournament title as the Trojans secured an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Kleine began his collegiate career at Notre Dame, but transferred to Arkansas after one season with the Fighting Irish, and averaged 18.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over three seasons as a Razorback. He was named the 1982-83 Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year in his first season with the Razorbacks. As a junior, his scoring average (18.2 ppg) was better than that of conference-foe Hakeem Olajuwon, then a senior at Houston. As a senior, Kleine averaged 22.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game during the 1984-85 season to earn his second USBWA All-District honor. He currently ranks sixth on Arkansas' all-time scoring list with 1,753 career points.
While at Arkansas, Kleine earned a spot on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team which won a gold medal in Los Angeles, Calif. The 1984 team was coached by Bobby Knight and included teammates Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and Steve Alford.
Upon graduating from Arkansas with a business degree, Kleine was selected with the No. 6 overall pick of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. He spent three seasons with the Kings, averaging career highs of 9.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game during the 1987-88 season. He was traded to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 23, 1989 and spent the next four-plus seasons with the Celtics.
Kleine became a free agent in 1993 and signed with Phoenix, starting 42 games in his second season to help the Suns to the 1994-95 Pacific Division title. After stops with the Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets, Kleine signed with Chicago prior to the 1997-98 campaign and earned a championship ring as the Bulls won the 1998 NBA title.
He ended his professional career with a seven-game stint with the Portland Trailblazers during the 1999-00 season. Over the course of his 15-year career, Kleine appeared in 49 playoff games and 965 regular season games, scoring 4,666 points (4.8 per game) and grabbing 3,991 rebounds (4.1 per game). He shot 45.3 percent from the field and 79.4 percent from the free throw line for his career, and ranked sixth in the NBA in free-throw shooting during the 1988-89 season at 88.2 percent (134-of-152).
Kleine gained coaching experience in 2004 as an assistant coach for the USA South Team at the Olympic Festival in Colorado Springs, as well as the 2004 18-and-under USA vs. Europe Hoop Summit in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, he has worked as a volunteer coach with AAU Basketball and Catholic High School in Little Rock.
He and his wife Dana have five children, LaNorris, Daniel, Courtney, Mallory and William.