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Karl named NBA Coach of the Year

The SportsXchange

George Karl was recognized Wednesday for leading the Denver Nuggets to their most successful regular season in franchise history with the NBA Coach of the Year award.

He received 62 first-place votes and 404 points in balloting by 121 sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada.

Miami's Eric Spoelstra finished second. He was followed by New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Indiana's Frank Vogel.

The coach of the year award is Karl's first in 25 NBA seasons. The only other Nuggets coach to receive the honor is Doug Moe.

"I am honored and energized to represent coaching and be their ambassador as coach of the year and continue to symbolize the great coaching there is in the NBA," Karl said. "There are probably seven or eight guys who are deserving of it and another 10 or 15 other coaches who have done a great job and aren't getting any recognition."

Karl, who left the sideline several years ago to battle cancer, guided the Nuggets to a team-record 57 victories and the No. 3 playoff seed in the Western Conference as Denver reached the postseason for the 10th consecutive year.

Among the Nuggets' highlights this season were winning 15 consecutive games form Feb. 23 to March 23 and going 24-4 after the All-Star break in February. Karl molded a young roster into a unit that won a team-record 38 home games and led the NBA in scoring, offensive rebounds, fast-break points, points off turnovers and points in the paint.

Karl's personal milestones included his 1,100th win as an NBA coach and passing Larry Brown for sixth place on the league's career victories list. He was named Western Conference coach of the month twice, in January and March.

Since he took over as Nuggets coach in January 2005, Karl has a 423-257 record (.622), trailing only Moe (432) for most wins in franchise history. His overall record with the Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers is 1,131-756.

Karl has a streak of 21 seasons with a team finishing .500 or above during the regular season, matching Phil Jackson for the longest run in NBA history.

Karl will receive the Red Auerbach Trophy, named for the legendary Hall of fAme and Boston Celtics coach.
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