The Phoenix Suns hired Jazz assistant coach Igor Kokoskov to become the 19th Head Coach in their franchise’s history. The hire marks the first time a NBA head coach has been born and raised outside of North America.
Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough had this to say of the hiring:
We are thrilled to bring Valley resident Igor Kokoškov back to Arizona as head coach of the Phoenix Suns. Igor has been a pioneer throughout his basketball career and he brings a wealth of high level coaching experience to our club. He was one of the first non-American born assistant coaches at both the NCAA and NBA levels and his most recent head coaching stint includes leading the Slovenian national team to the 2017 EuroBasket title, which was the first European title in the history of the country. Igor’s teams have always had a player development focus, a creative style of play and a track record of success.”
Kokoskov is a native of Belgrade and been an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (2003-08), Cleveland Cavaliers (2013-14) and the Orlando Magic (2015). He is also an accomplished coach on the international level, coaching the Slovenian national team from 2016 to 2017 and leading them to perfect 9-0 finish and the gold medal in the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket, the first European Championship for the nation. He previously served as the Georgia national team from 2008-15; during his tenure, the team qualified three times for EuroBasket, previously unprecedented for Georgia.
Kokoskov will assume duties as the Suns’ head coach once Utah’s season concludes.