New Nugget Coach Bickerstaff Moves Littles Back to Assistant

<i> Associated Press</i>

Bernie Bickerstaff added another line on his Nugget resume Monday, becoming the team’s coach.

Gene Littles, who had been the interim coach since Dan Issel resigned on Jan. 15, returned to his assistant’s role after leading Denver to a 3-13 record.

Bickerstaff, who had coached the Seattle SuperSonics for five years before joining the Nugget front office in 1990, also becomes president of the team, succeeding Tim Lieweke, who will oversee team owner COMSAT Video Enterprises’ plans for a new arena in Denver.


Bickerstaff offered no quick fix.

“I caution you that I am not the panacea as far as turning this around,” he said, adding that his immediate goals were to forge a new attitude for the Nuggets and improve the team’s defense.

Issel abruptly resigned after 2 1/2 seasons, saying he had grown unhappy with his job and did not want to coach again. At the time the Nuggets were 18-16 and in fourth place, but were still seeking the emotional high that had come from their being the only eighth-seeded playoff team to beat a top-seeded team, having knocked off Seattle last season.

Bickerstaff takes over a club that is 21-29 and ninth in the Western Conference.


BICKERSTAFF’S RECORD A look at the coaching record of Bernie Bickerstaff, who was named coach of the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

Season W L Pct Fin 1985-86 31 51 .378 5th 1986-87 39 43 .475 4th 1987-88 44 38 .537 3rd 1988-89 47 35 .573 3rd 1989-90 41 41 .500 4th Totals 202 208 .493

Note: All seasons with Seattle.