Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl has been named the NBA’s Coach of the Year. In what was a surprising result, Karl received 62 first-place votes while Erik Spolestra of the Miami Heat came in second, receiving 24 first-place votes.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
This is Karl’s first time winning the honor in 25 years of coaching in the NBA, becoming the longest-tenured coach to win his first coach of the year award in NBA history. Lenny Wilkins previously held the streak when he won the award in the 1993-94 season after 21 years of being a head coach.
In his ninth season with the Nuggets, Karl also becomes the first Denver coach to win the honor since Doug Moe in the 1987-88 season.
Karl led the Nuggets to 57 wins this season before losing in the first round to the Golden State Warriors, but that doesn’t take away what the Nuggets accomplished in the regular season.
Denver went a remarkable 38-3 at home, and also had a 15 game winning streak at one point in the season. The Nuggets lead the league in scoring, fast-break points, and points in the paint, but struggled in the playoffs. This is the fourth straight season the Denver has been eliminated in the first round.
Mike Woodson finished third in the voting, while Gregg Popovich ended up fourth. Kevin McHale was ninth.