Nuggest confirm Karl as head coach

The Denver Nuggets named George Karl the 19th head coach in team history Thursday. Karl will take over for interim head coach Michael Cooper and is expected to lead the team during a practice in Milwaukee, where the Nuggets will face the Bucks on Friday night.Cooper compiled a 4-10 mark after taking over for Jeff Bzdelik in December. Bzdelik was named the 17th coach in team history in August 2002 and engineered one of the NBA’s greatest turnarounds last season. He guided Denver to 43 wins and the team’s first postseason berth since 1995. Bzdelik compiled an overall mark of 73-119 with the club.

“We are very excited to be adding a coach of George’s stature to our organization,” said Denver general manager Kiki Vandeweghe. “He has won everywhere he has been and his track record speaks for itself. We also want to commend Michael for the job he did under difficult cir*****stances.”

Cooper will resume his previous role as assistant coach.

Karl, meanwhile, has been an ESPN analyst after the Bucks fired him as head coach in July 2003. His contract with the network, however, allows him to leave the position for an NBA coaching job at any time.

He guided Milwaukee to four playoff berths and compiled a 205-173 mark in five seasons with the Bucks. Before joining Milwaukee, Karl coached the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Seattle, leading the SuperSonics to the 1996 NBA Finals, only to lose to the Chicago Bulls.

In 2001, Karl guided the Bucks to their first division title and their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since the 1986 campaign. The Philadelphia 76ers ended that run in seven games.

Karl became the 17th coach to win 600 games in 2001 and in doing so was the sixth fastest coach in NBA history to achieve the feat. He left Milwaukee as the third-winningest coach in club history, behind Don Nelson (540 wins) and Larry Costello (410).

For his career, Karl owns an overall record of 708-499 over 16 seasons and a .587 winning percentage. Karl also has 13 post-season appearances and is Denver’s 12th head coach since the firing of Doug Moe in 1990.

The Nuggets are 17-25 so far this season and 12 1/2 games out of first place in the Northwest Division.

The Sports Network

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