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George Karl
Position(s) Guard
Jersey #(s) 22
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Born May 12, 1951 (1951-05-12) (age 58)
Penn Hills, Pennsylvania
Career information
Year(s) 1973–1978
NBA Draft 1973 / Round: 4 / Pick: 14

Selected by New York Knicks

College North Carolina
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA and ABA)
Points     1,703
Rebounds     369
Assists     795
Stats @
Career highlights and awards

George Matthew Karl (born May 12, 1951) is an American retired National Basketball Association (NBA) and American Basketball Association (ABA) player and current head coach of the Denver Nuggets.



Karl was born in Penn Hills, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After a college career at the University of North Carolina he signed with the ABA's San Antonio Spurs in 1973. When the Spurs joined the NBA in 1976, Karl began his two-year NBA playing career. After his playing career, Karl became an assistant coach for the Spurs. Karl then moved on to the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) as head coach of the Montana Golden Nuggets (Great Falls). As coach of the Golden Nuggets, Karl won CBA Coach of the Year twice, in 1981 and 1983.

In 1984, Karl became the head coach of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers until he was fired in 1986. He later coached the Golden State Warriors until 1988, achieving a winning record and a first-round playoff upset in his first season, before being fired after a terrible start to the 1987-88 campaign. Karl returned to the CBA in 1988 as coach of the Albany Patroons, winning the coach of the year award in 1989. He also spent two years in Spain coaching the Real Madrid basketball team in 1989-90 and 1991-92.[1]

Karl returned to the NBA as coach of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1991-1998, leading them to the NBA Finals in 1996 where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games. In all seven of his seasons in Seattle, the team made the postseason, winning three division titles, and eclipsing the 50-win mark in every year that he was the full-time coach.

The biggest disappointment of Karl's tenure in Seattle came in 1994, when the 63-win Sonics were upset in the first round by the Denver Nuggets, marking the first time in NBA history that an eight seed defeated a number one seed.

In 1998, Karl moved to the Milwaukee Bucks as head coach, lured by an excellent contract. He rebuilt a struggling team in his first three years, steadily increasing win totals, and guiding the team within one game of the NBA Finals in 2001. However, his team collapsed down the stretch in 2002, falling from the number one spot in the Eastern Conference in January to a season that ended out of the playoffs. He was fired after another underachieving season in 2003, where his team made the playoffs with a win total of just over the .500 mark.

He coached the US national team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship.[2]

He returned to the NBA in 2005 when he became head coach of the Nuggets, taking over from interim head coach Michael Cooper on January 27 and leading the team on an incredible run to the postseason.

On July 27, the Nuggets announced that Karl had prostate cancer. He has enjoyed a resurrection of his career with the Denver Nuggets, guiding them to an unprecedented 32-8 record in the second half of the 2004-05 season. Karl's son Coby was a reserve guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, after a career as starting point guard for Boise State University. Coby came out for the 2006 NBA Draft after a bout with thyroid cancer, but withdrew his name before the draft and returned to Boise State for his senior year.

On December 28, 2006, Karl became just the 12th coach in NBA history to reach the 800-win mark when his Denver Nuggets defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 112-98.

On December 31, 2008, Karl reached 900 coaching career wins with his Denver Nuggets as he beat the Toronto Raptors.

Karl coached the Western Conference All-Stars at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game on February 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.[3]

After the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, It was revealed in a press conference that Coach Karl was diagnosed with treatable neck and throat cancer. [4]

Coaching record

Regular season   G Games coached   W Games won   L Games lost
Post season  PG  Games coached  PW  Games won  PL  Games lost
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL Result
CLE 1984–85 82 36 46 .439 4th in Central 4 1 3 Lost in First Round
CLE 1985–86 66 25 42 .373 (fired)
GSW 1986–87 82 42 40 .512 3rd in Pacific 10; 4 6 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
GSW 1987–88 64 16 48 .250 (fired) 10 6 4
SEA 1991–92 42 27 15 .643 4th in Pacific 9 4 5 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
SEA 1992–93 82 55 27 .671 2nd in Pacific 19 10 9 Lost in Conf. Finals
SEA 1993–94 82 63 19 .768 1st in Pacific 5 2 3 Lost in First Round
SEA 1994–95 82 57 25 .695 2nd in Pacific 4 1 3 Lost in First Round
SEA 1995–96 82 64 18 .780 1st in Pacific 21 13 8 Lost in NBA Finals
SEA 1996–97 82 57 25 .695 2nd in Pacific 12 6 6 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
SEA 1997–98 82 61 21 .744 1st in Pacific 10 4 6 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
MIL 1998–99 50 28 22 .560 4th in Central 3 0 3 Lost in First Round
MIL 1999–00 82 42 40 .512 5th in Central 5 2 3 Lost in First Round
MIL 2000–01 82 52 30 .634 1st in Central 18 10 8 Lost in Conf. Finals
MIL 2001–02 82 41 41 .500 5th in Central Missed Playoffs
MIL 2002–03 82 42 40 .512 4th in Central 6 2 4 Lost in First Round
DEN 2004–05 40 32 8 .800 2nd in Northwest 5 1 4 Lost in First Round
DEN 2005–06 82 44 38 .537 1st in Northwest 5 1 4 Lost in First Round
DEN 2006–07 82 45 37 .549 2nd in Northwest 5 1 4 Lost in First Round
DEN 2007–08 82 50 32 .610 2nd in Northwest 4 0 4 Lost in First Round
DEN 2008–09 82 54 28 .659 1st in Northwest 16 10 6 Lost in Conf. Finals
Career 1575 933 642 .592 161 72 89


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tom Nissalke
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach
Succeeded by
Gene Littles
Preceded by
Johnny Bach
Golden State Warriors head coach
Succeeded by
Ed Gregory
Preceded by
K. C. Jones
Seattle SuperSonics head coach
Succeeded by
Paul Westphal
Preceded by
Chris Ford
Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach
Succeeded by
Terry Porter
Preceded by
Michael Cooper
Denver Nuggets head coach
Succeeded by

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