The new interim head coach of the Denver Nuggets says he'll cherish the opportunity, but acknowledges his situation is one that no assistant coach would want to face.
Michael Cooper addressed the media for the first time Tuesday morning as Denver's head coach, following the firing of Jeff Bzdelik.
The dismissal comes amid a Denver losing streak that's now stretched to six games, following a 104-to-101 loss at Golden State Monday night.
Cooper says it's tough to take over for someone who had been his "teacher" for the last several months, but he's looking forward to helping the team improve.
Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe commended Bzdelik, saying the former coach worked "tirelessly" for the team.
Vandeweghe also said the firing was personally difficult, because he had grown to consider Bzdelik a friend.
Vandeweghe says he met with Bzdelik Tuesday morning to tell him a coaching change would have to be made, and that Bzdelik agreed.
The Nuggets hired Bzdelik as their head coach in August 2002.
The Nuggets had been expected to move near the top of the Western Conference after signing All-Star power forward Kenyon Martin, but the season has since been filled with bad luck and inconsistency.
Denver has lost eight of its last nine games, and dropped to 13-and-15 after the loss at Golden State.