Director of Performance Steve Hess is moving into a consulting role, the Denver Nuggets announced today. Hess will be taking on the position of Chief Performance Officer at the Panorama Orthopedics and Spine Center. Any fan of the Nuggets over the past two decades is likely to recognize Hess whose dreadlocks were a mainstay in the row behind Denver’s bench. Hess has been as iconic as anyone within the organization, and his longevity was a result of tireless effort and a passion that was unparalleled.
Hess lived by his own words, each day he was looking to “get bettah.” His list of accomplishments doesn’t stop with the work he did with the Nuggets either. Hess holds two degrees in physical fitness and was a champion bodybuilder, including winning the 2008 NPC CytoCharge Colorado State Fitness and Figure Championships in the Masters over 40 division. He did that while still fulfilling his coaching duties in Denver.
His philosophy naturally bled into every player who interacted with him. Hess could be found in numerous videos encouraging and pushing his players. “Drive”, “perfect form”, “love it”, just a few of the Hess catch phrases that would be heard non-stop as he pushed elite athletes through workouts that tested their physical capabilities. Now, he faces a new challenge with Panorama.
In Hess’ place comes Felipe Eichenberger who is currently the associate head strength & conditioning coach. Felipe is more commonly known as the guy who posted the now iconic Nikola Jokic victorious horse with a hat photo on Instagram (Felipe is the one to the far left).
Eichenberger has spent six seasons with the team and has a master’s degree in kinesiology and exercise science. He’s also been spending lots of time over in Serbia with Jokic this summer. The Brazilian is a former college basketball player himself after his rapidly growing body forced him out of his first choice, soccer and no doubt the years he’s spent under Hess’ tutelage, along with what Felipe uniquely brings to the table himself, makes him the ideal man to take over the reigns from a franchise icon.
We wish nothing but the best of luck to both Steve and Felipe as they take on new and exciting challenges. It will be weird not to see that bundle of energy behind the bench anymore. Despite almost always being the shortest one in the room, Hess’ presence was always the largest. He will be missed. Good luck Steve, keep getting bettah!