The trio of Van Gundy, Mike Breen, and Mark Jackson make up the network’s No. 1 broadcast team. Those three are responsible for calling the NBA Finals — most of which have featured LeBron James in Van Gundy’s tenure at ESPN — on ABC each year.
Long before he coached an NBA game or worked a game on television, Van Gundy attended Yale University. Also at Yale during that time period was Jodie Foster, a future award-winning actress.
Jeff Van Gundy has had a long career around the NBA
After attending several colleges as a point guard, Jeff Van Gundy didn’t need long to find his first job.
Van Gundy became a high school basketball coach at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, N.Y., for the 1985-86 season, just months after graduating from Nazareth College in New York. After a year in high school, Van Gundy moved to the college level and spent time as an assistant at Providence (1986-88) and Rutgers (1988-89).
Stu Jackson hired Van Gundy as the Knicks’ assistant head coach in 1989, and he held that role through 1996, when he took over for Don Nelson that March. The Knicks went 248-172 in Van Gundy’s seven seasons and reached the NBA Finals in June 1999.
The Knicks went 37-32 in the postseason when Van Gundy was the head coach. After moving to Houston for the 2003-04 season, Van Gundy totaled a 184-146 record in four years there.
Van Gundy joined ESPN in 2007, not long after the Rockets fired him.
He went to school with Jodie Foster
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During the 2018 NBA Finals, Jeff Van Gundy did what the younger generations called a “flex.”
Van Gundy told the national audience watching at home that he attended college with Jodie Foster. Originally a child actor, Foster is best known for her roles in movies such as Taxi Driver and The Accused. Foster won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for the latter film.
Foster also won Golden Globes for The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs.
Most recently, Foster appeared in Hotel Artemis and Love, Antosha.
Did Jodie Foster remember Jeff Van Gundy?
Jeff Van Gundy and Jodie Foster both attended Yale in the 1980s, a fact that is indisputable.
NFL Network host Rich Eisen interviewed Foster shortly after Van Gundy’s comments. During their interview on The Rich Eisen Show in June 2018, Eisen asked Foster — who was there to promote Hotel Artemis — if she remembered Van Gundy.
Unfortunately for Van Gundy, Foster had no idea who he was.
“Sorry, Jeff, don’t remember you. You weren’t that memorable. Oops.”
Eisen’s production crew pulled up a photo of Van Gundy sitting with Mark Jackson and Mike Breen. Eisen pointed out that Van Gundy was in the middle of the image.
“That rings no bells whatsoever,” Foster responded. “I’m so sorry, Jeff.”