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Coaching Staff

Brian Shaw Thumbnail

Brian Shaw, Head Coach

Brian Shaw enters his first season as head coach of the Denver Nuggets after spending the past two seasons as the Associate Head Coach with the Indiana Pacers.

While serving alongside Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, Shaw helped lead Indiana to the playoffs both years, including a run to the Eastern Conference Finals this past season before falling to the eventual NBA-champion Miami Heat.

Prior to his time in Indiana, Shaw was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers organization since the 2003-04 season. He spent his first year with the Lakers as a scout before joining the coaching staff as an assistant for the next seven seasons. During his time with the Lakers, they won two NBA championships (2008-09, 2009-10).

The 47-year-old Shaw (3/22/66) had a long and successful professional career, playing with the Boston Celtics, Il Messaggero Roma (Italy), Miami, Orlando, Golden State, Philadelphia, Portland and the Lakers, where he was part of three NBA championships (2000, 2001, 2002). In his NBA career, Shaw scored 6,547 points (6.9 points per game). He also played for the gold medal-winning Team USA in the 1986 FIBA World Championship.

Shaw played collegiately at Saint Mary's College of California and UC Santa Barbara, where he was the Big West Conference Player of the Year in 1988. The Gauchos retired his No. 22 jersey. Shaw was a first-round pick of the Celtics (24th overall) in the 1988 NBA Draft.

In 2000, his hometown of Oakland declared Aug. 10 as "Brian Shaw Day".

He and his wife Nikki and have three children, Brianna, B.J. and Bianca.


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Lester Conner, Assistant Coach

Lester Conner brings 15 years of NBA coaching and scouting experience to the Nuggets following three seasons as the lead assistant for the Atlanta Hawks. He also has been the associate head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers (2004-05) and an assistant with the Indiana Pacers (2007-10), Milwaukee Bucks (2005-07) and Boston Celtics (1998-2004).

Conner, who played for seven teams in 12 NBA seasons, began his pro coaching career in 1998 as an assistant to Rick Pitino in Boston. He also has worked as a scout for the Miami Heat and an assistant coach for the Magic Johnson All-Stars.

A first-round pick of the Golden State Warriors in 1982 (14th overall), Conner averaged 6.3 points and 3.9 assists with the Warriors, Bucks, Pacers, Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. He earned a Continental Basketball Association championship as a member of the Rapid City Thrillers in 1986-87.

Conner grew up in Oakland, winning a California state championship his senior year at Fremont High School. After two years at Chabot Junior College in California, he played for the legendary Ralph Miller at Oregon State, helping lead the Beavers to a 52-6 record. He was named an AP All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year as a senior.

Born Sept. 17, 1959 in Memphis, Tenn., Conner and his wife Stacy are parents of twin daughters, Simone and Alana.


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Melvin Hunt, Assistant Coach

Melvin Hunt is entering his fourth season on the Nuggets coaching staff, after spending the previous five years as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hunt is responsible for developing game plans along with Head Coach Brian Shaw as well as developing the Nuggets players throughout the season and offseason. The past three summers Hunt has spent time in Italy working with Danilo Gallinari and he participated alongside Nuggets C Timofey Mozgov in Basketball Without Borders in Russia in 2012.

While in Cleveland, Hunt helped lead the Cavaliers to one of the most successful stretches in franchise history. In 2008-09, the Cavs won a franchise and NBA-best 66 games, while Hunt and the coaching staff earned the honor of coaching the Eastern Conference in the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. Cleveland also enjoyed great postseason success during Hunt’s tenure with the team, reaching the 2007 NBA Finals, the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals and four consecutive appearances in the Eastern Conference Semifinals from 2007-10.

Before joining the Cavaliers staff, Hunt spent one season (2004-05) as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers and five seasons with the Houston Rockets (1999-2004). While with the Rockets, he served two years as a video coordinator/scout and two years as an assistant coach before spending his final year as the team’s college and international scout.

Prior to working in the NBA, Hunt coached on both the collegiate and high school levels. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Temple High School (TX) before moving to the college ranks where he was the lead assistant coach at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio.

Hunt earned his Bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Master’s degree in education from Baylor University where he spent four years on the basketball team. He was a four-year letterman and a three-year starter for the Bears from 1987-91 and helped lead his team to both the NCAA and NIT tournaments. Following his graduation, Hunt played professional basketball in the Caribbean and Mexico.

A native of Tallulah, Louisiana, Hunt has spent time in Asia, Russia, Lithuania and South Africa during recent offseasons as a part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders – the global basketball development and community outreach program that uses the sport of basketball to influence positive social change.

Hunt (born Dec. 15, 1969) and his wife, Carmen, have a daughter, Braya, and a son, Miles.


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Patrick Mutombo, Assistant Coach

Patrick Mutombo enters his third season with the Nuggets and his first as an assistant coach. He joined the team as a player development coordinator in 2011-12 after being a member of the Metro State University coaching staff.

In his role with the Nuggets, Mutombo works closely with the players to improve their individual skills before, during and after practices and team shootarounds. He also assists with advanced scouting of upcoming opponents. Mutombo served as an instructor at the NBA’s 2012 Basketball Without Borders Africa camp and the Top 50 camp in Nigeria.

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mutombo developed his basketball skills while growing up in Belgium, and he later played under coach Mike Dunlap at Metro State in Denver. Mutombo spent six years playing professionally in Italy, Greece and the NBA Development League. He played four seasons on four different teams in the top league in Italy, one season for Trikala 2000 in Greece's top league, and the 2009-10 season with Bakersfield in the NBDL.

Mutombo, 32, turned pro after a distinguished career Metro State (1999-2003). He helped the Roadrunners win two NCAA Division II national championships (2000 and 2002) and was named second-team All-America in 2001 and first-team All-America in 2002. Mutombo ranks second in school history in career free throw percentage (.853), fifth in field goals made (571) and ninth in points (1,360). He was inducted into the Metro State Athletics Hall of Fame in February 2011.

Mutombo, who graduated from Metro State in 2003 with a degree in Political Science, resides in Denver with his wife Magali and their twins. In his spare time, he enjoys painting, sculpting and building wood furniture.


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Noel Gillespie, Assistant Coach

Noel Gillespie brings more than a decade of coaching and scouting experience to Denver in his first season as an assistant coach.

Prior to joining the Nuggets, Gillespie served as an assistant coach/advance scout for the Phoenix Suns from 2010-13. He spent the previous two seasons as Phoenix’s advance scout, aiding the coaching staff in game-preparation for upcoming opponents.

A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Gillespie got his start with the Suns as an assistant video coordinator in 2003-04 and spent the next four seasons as the team’s video scouting coordinator.

Gillespie also worked as a graduate assistant at Florida State University in 2002 and assisted the Indiana Pacers with video, coaching and scouting in 2001.


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Chris Farr, Assistant Coach/Player Development

Chris Farr brings more than 20 years of coaching and player development experience to the Nuggets in his first season as a member of coach Brian Shaw’s staff.

Farr arrives in Denver as assistant coach/player development after four years as an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount University. During his time at LMU, the Lions had three 1,000-point scorers and enjoyed two of their most successful seasons since 1989-90.

Prior to LMU, Farr spent a year conducting individual skill and conditioning workouts for NBA and college players. He served as an assistant coach at the University San Francisco from 2005-08.

A native of Oakland, Calif., Farr also worked as an assistant coach at Fresno State (1999-2002) and Contra Costa College (1989-99).

As a player, Farr led his team in assists in two years at Sacramento State. He also was an all-league first team selection at Contra Costa College after being an all-conference selection in one year at Oxnard Community College.


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Steve Hess, Assistant Coach/Strength and Conditioning

Keeping the Nuggets in top physical shape is the job of Steve Hess, the team’s assistant coach/strength and conditioning. Hess oversees the team’s weight training, conditioning, stretching and nutritional programs. He designed and arranged the Nuggets’ weight room in the Pepsi Center and also designed functional pieces unique to the Denver Nuggets.

In his 17th season with the Nuggets, Hess creates and administers individual workout programs for each player throughout the entire year. He spends the majority of the off-season working with Nuggets players and other professional athletes, overseeing every aspect of their workout programs. He pushes them to reach their peak physical condition.

Hess is a co-owner of FORZA fitness and performance center and is one of 12 trainers worldwide who sits on the Under Armour training council. He is also the official spokesperson for the National Sports Center for the Disabled and is also a member of NBA Team Fit.

In addition, Hess has been featured on NBA Inside Stuff, All-Access with Ahmad Rashad, NBATV and The Eating Network. He also has his own workout segment on the Altitude Sports & Entertainment network.

A graduate of Ithaca College (N.Y.), Hess received a master’s degree in physical education with an emphasis on sports medicine and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science fitness and cardiac rehabilitation in ‘91.

Hess lives to obtain peak performance in his own life. His wife, Alicia, is also a conditioning expert and the couple spends their time chasing their two sons, Jordan and Korey, around their home.


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Jim Gillen, Head Athletic Trainer

One of the most respected trainers in the NBA, Jim Gillen is in his 23rd season with the Nuggets. He is responsible for the treatment and rehabilitation of all injuries, in conjunction with the team's medical staff.

In addition, he serves as the team's travel coordinator and works closely with Strength and Conditioning Coach Steve Hess to monitor the Nuggets' workout regimen and diet.

Gillen traveled across town in 1991 to join the Nuggets after serving as the assistant athletic trainer for the Denver Broncos from '87-90. During his tenure with the Broncos, Gillen accompanied the team to three Super Bowls. He and Broncos Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos were named the NFL's Athletic Training Staff of the Year in '87.

Prior to joining the Broncos, Gillen was an athletic trainer for the AMI/Denver Broncos Sports Medicine Clinic in 1987 and served as the head athletic trainer at Overland High School from '82-86 and Aurora Central High School from '80-82.

After receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays State (Kan.), Gillen was the head athletic trainer at Roosevelt High School in San Antonio before moving to Denver.

A member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, Gillen is a past president of the Colorado Athletic Trainers Association. He is also past Chairman of the NBA Athletic Trainers Association and is a recipient of the National Athletic Trainers Association 25 Year Award.

Gillen has served as an athletic trainer at three NBA All-Star Games, working the 2005 (Denver) and 2003 (Atlanta) contests as the head trainer for the Western Conference and the 1995 game in Phoenix as an assistant.

He was honored with the Joe O'Toole NBA Athletic Trainer of the Year Award in 2002 and 2008 and was an athletic trainer for USA Basketball at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis. In 2010 Gillen was inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame, which represents the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

Gillen established the Excellence in High School Athletic Training Award in 2003 given annually to the top high school athletic training program in Colorado and Wyoming. The recipient receives a monetary donation for supplies and equipment and is recognized at a Nuggets home game. In addition, each year a "Comeback Athlete of the Year" and the school that the athlete attends are rewarded for outstanding rehab.

A native of Meade, Kan., his family includes wife Terri, daughter Rachel; daughter Jamee Ulitzky, her husband Josh and their children Joey, Jordan and Julia; son J.D., his wife Emily and their daughters Alexsis and Aspen; and daughter Amanda Lloyd and her husband J and their daughter Karaline.