HOUSTON — A bombshell was delivered ahead of Game 2 of the Jazz-Rockets Western Conference semifinals.
The Phoenix Suns have decided to hire Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov. The Serbian will become the first European-born head coach in the league.
“I think Phoenix is getting a guy that is both a terrific teacher, a tactician," said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. "I’ve known Igor since I was an assistant at Duke and he was touring the U.S. as a young coach, living in Belgrade so we have a special relationship that dates back over 20 years ago."
Kokoskov first interviewed for the vacant Suns coaching job last month and had been multitasking with the Jazz in the process. He also served as an assistant in Phoenix for five seasons from 2008-13.
Kokoskov joined the Jazz staff in 2015 but also has experience with the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and the Suns.
“He’s been a terrific assistant in the NBA for a long time and very deserving and can’t thank him enough for what he’s given me personally in our program over the last four years so just excited for him and we’ll try to keep him here as long as we can,” Snyder said.
He will officially begin his coaching duties after the 2017-18 duties conclude with the Jazz. Phoenix is happy to have him.
“We are thrilled to bring Valley resident Igor Kokoškov back to Arizona as head coach of the Phoenix Suns,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said in a press release. “Igor has been a pioneer throughout his basketball career and he brings a wealth of high level coaching experience to our club.
“He was one of the first non-American born assistant coaches at both the NCAA and NBA levels and his most recent head coaching stint includes leading the Slovenian national team to the 2017 EuroBasket title, which was the first European title in the history of the country,” he added. “Igor’s teams have always had a player development focus, a creative style of play and a track record of success.”