Ex-NBA coach George Karl hopes to coach again

george-karlLast season, George Karl won 57 games with Denver Nuggets, and was named NBA Coach of the Year.

It was a crowning achievement for Karl, especially after he survived cancer and continued to lead the Nuggets’ retooled, post-Carmelo Anthony roster to success, Boston Globe reported.

But if Karl did coach the Nuggets this season, it would have been the final year of his contract, and the 62-year-old pushed the organization for more security. Management’s response was to fire him, blaming him for the Nuggets’ first-round playoff loss to the lower-seeded Golden State Warriors.

After that, Karl signed on to become an analyst for ESPN, hopefully a respite and a chance to refresh until the next coaching position opens up. But there is still disappointment over his abrupt Denver departure.

“I still think I’m a gym rat and because of that, I want to coach,” said Karl, who led the Nuggets to six 50-plus-win seasons in nine years. “There are so many things now in the world of basketball that have an interest to me that I’ve never had the time to pursue and put my heart into.

“I think everybody understands my passion for the game and this allows me to stay on top of the game and be a part of the game and hopefully to be an ambassador for coaches because the coaches are taking a lot of hits over the last couple of years.”

“I was amazed at how quickly I accepted what happened,” Karl said, “because I had 8½ great years and last year was probably my most fun coaching any basketball team I’ve ever been associated with. “I don’t have a lot of bitterness other than I don’t understand. But not understanding — when you are working in a world of millions, millions, and millions of dollars, there’s a lot of things I don’t understand.”

“I can’t deny there’s an anger and frustration. But there’s much more celebration in my heart than anything else.”

Karl reached the NBA Finals once in 25 years as a head coach but racked up 1,131 victories and helped resurrect franchises in Seattle, Milwaukee, and Denver.He is considered a brilliant offensive mind.

“There are a lot of truths that change,” he said. “You win 57 games and win Coach of the Year, the truth was it probably did once create security, but the truth now is it doesn’t,” Karl said.

Karl was a victim of a trend of dumping veteran coaches for hot assistants or analytics gurus. But he is trying to use his television stint to learn more about the league and sharpen his résumé for the next move.

“There’s all types of trends that happen in sports,” he said. “They go hire college coaches. They go hire assistant coaches. In football, they go hire offensive coordinators and then they go hire defensive coordinators. What I think is good about the game of basketball is the real guys who know how to do it survive, and hopefully I’m one of those guys who continue to survive and get another opportunity,” he said.

“If that doesn’t happen, I think I can be OK with it. I’ve had a great career and I think I’m healthy enough and energized enough to go another four or five years, and hopefully someone else out there will think the same thing.”

“I can’t predict [how I will do in TV],” Karl said. “My window of coaching every year will be a little smaller, and I thought more about trying something else. But after last year, it was the most fun I’ve had in coaching, so it’s probably not closing very much,” Karl said.


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