Bryan Gates Earns Inaugural Dennis Johnson Award
GREENVILLE, S.C., April 11, 2007 – Idaho Stampede head coach Bryan Gates has been named as the inaugural winner of the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year Award as voted on by NBA Development League head coaches.
The award is named in honor of former NBA playing great, NBA and D-League coach Dennis Johnson, who passed away unexpectedly at age 52 on Feb. 22, 2007 after conducting practice for the Austin Toros, where he was coaching in his second season. In his playing career, Johnson won three NBA titles, played in five NBA All-Star games and was named to the All-Defensive First Team six times. He served as interim head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2002 and was in his third season coaching in the D-League.
In his first season as head coach of the Stampede after serving as Johnson’s assistant at Austin in 2005-06, Gates brought his team from a 1-6 start to a Western Division title. Currently 31-17 with two regular season games to play, Gates has an opportunity to guide Idaho to more regular season victories than any team since the league schedule was reduced to 50 games or less following the inaugural season. The 2002-03 Fayetteville Patriots finished 32-18.
“Bryan Gates has done a terrific job with his team this year. Although the Stampede struggled at the beginning of the season, Gates stayed the course and lead his team to the best record in the league, despite key personnel losses,” said D-League Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel Chris Alpert. “He has been instrumental in the development of his players and bringing winning basketball to Idaho.”
Coaching a style of play that emphasizes teamwork, rebounding and defense, Gates has the Stampede leading the D-League in total assists (24.8), assists per game (24.8), points allowed per game (96.9), opponents field goal percentage (.449) and defensive rebounding percentage (.719). Idaho has been in first place in the Western Division since Feb. 10.