The Utah Jazz have announced that the head coach of the Idaho Stampede will be Dean Cooper. Cooper previously worked under Kevin McHale twice, the first time in 2008-2009 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and most recently over the past two seasons with the Houston Rockets. Previously he has coached at the collegiate level, in the CBA, and had worked his way up in the NBA from a video coordinator to being an assistant coach under Rudy Tomjanovich.
From their notes, the Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey had this to say:
"We are pleased to welcome Dean to our organization. The D-League is a critical component in building teams and it begins with each affiliate’s head coach. Dean’s addition is another step in the continued expansion of our basketball operations, and his experience and teaching ability will be a tremendous asset to both the Idaho Stampede and Utah Jazz."
Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder added:
"Having coached in the D-League for three seasons, I learned what an extension your affiliate is of your NBA program. Dean has a proven history of player development which is an integral aspect of my coaching philosophy. As an extension of our staff, he will work hand-in-hand with us to establish a clear, seamless connection to ensure we are stressing the same principles in Utah and Idaho."
And, of course, Coach Cooper had this to say:
"The Utah Jazz and Idaho Stampede are both model organizations with winning traditions and passionate fans. I am looking forward to working with Coach Snyder as we develop a unified approach to player development while continuing to put a team on the floor that will compete every night and make the Boise community proud."
Coop has paid his dues, and is a product of the same Houston Rockets franchise (he got his start there in 1999) that Dennis Lindsey got his start in. So it's all still 'in house' with most of these 'out of house' hires.
Today there is a press conference in taking place at Stein Distributing Co, in Boise, Idaho -- that I am invited to but cannot attend. So that sucks. If you want to go, it's in the upstairs conference room, and there is street parking only.
I think it's awesome that we're taking overt control of the Stampede and making the hirings. I have great confidence in what Lindsey is doing, and hopefully we'll actually use the D-League for more than 8 games this season. While Ian Clark, Carrick Felix, and possibly even Toure' Murry are elite players to make the NBA, they aren't quite great enough to displace the normative rotation of Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Alec Burks, and Gordon Hayward at the one and the two spots. More seasoning in the same time zone isn't going to hurt them.