Long before Grizzlies, Joerger embodied grit and grind

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The Grizzlies are 31-14 since New Year's Day, surging them into the playoff picture after an ugly start.

The Grizzlies are 31-14 since New Year's Day, surging them into the playoff picture after an ugly start.

After graduating, Joerger networked his way into an unlikely gig for a guy in his early twenties: General manager and assistant coach of the Dakota Wizards, another IBA team. It led to some interesting duties. Sometimes Joerger had to leave in-game huddles to address a sponsorship question, then hurry back to help draw up a play. He sold tickets before games, signed and cut players older than him.

Dave Joerger won five titles as a minor league head coach, including a D-League championship in 2007.

Dave Joerger won five titles as a minor league head coach, including a D-League championship in 2007.

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Dave Joerger (left) on life this season, when Marc Gasol was hurt: 'We were just trying to survive.'

Dave Joerger (left) on life this season, when Marc Gasol was hurt: 'We were just trying to survive.'

Which is to say, for now, Joerger is happy to win ugly.