Dan Issel had two coaching stints with the Denver Nuggets. From 1992-94 he compiled a 96-102 record and from 1999-2001 he went 84-106 for a career coaching record of 180-208. Not exactly stellar records, but he was on the bench for the Nuggets incredible 1993-94 upset over the Seattle Supersonics and almost led another miraculous comeback in the next round against the Utah Jazz (Nuggets lost in seven games).
Issel also had a remarkable playing career for the Nuggets. During his 10 year stretch with Denver he averaged 20.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. He is still the career leading rebounder in Nuggets history and has his no. 44 retired by the team (hanging in the Pepsi Center rafters) and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
"I remember he was a tough competitor," said Brian Shaw. "He was the anchor of his Nuggets teams. Growing up on the West coast following the Lakers, following the Warriors, [Issel] was a guy that just grinded it out. I remember him also being a firey coach on the sidelines. I played against him a few years when he was coaching the [Nuggets]."
Could the return of Issel to the broadcasting booth be a testing of the waters for the Nuggets? Might there be bigger things in store for the former player, coach, executive?
"I've been on teams when you've had legends of your franchise around. I think it's always good for the guys to know, be around, and be able to touch players that have come before and laid the ground work for them to do what they do now," said Shaw. "I think it'll be a good situation."
There definitely seems to be a possibility of having Issel around more, but we'll see what's next. For now, it'll be The Horse taking over for Scott Hastings for the next couple home games.
"Scott [Hastings] is going to be freezing in New York," said Shaw. "I'm sure he'll have on his camouflage Broncos Peyton Manning jersey and Dan Issel will do a good job filling in for him."
Welcome back Horse.
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