Dean Cooper, an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets for the last two seasons, is the Idaho Stampede's new head coach, the Utah Jazz announced Wednesday. Cooper is the 10th head coach in Stampede history and the sixth in the NBA Development League era.
“We are pleased to welcome Dean to our organization," Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey said in a statement released by the Stampede. "The D-League is a critical component in building teams and it begins with each affiliate’s head coach. Dean’s addition is another step in the continued expansion of our basketball operations, and his experience and teaching ability will be a tremendous asset to both the Idaho Stampede and Utah Jazz.”
The Jazz now control the basketball operations of the Stampede, a member of the NBA Development League. The Jazz replace Portland as the operator of the basketball side for Idaho.
Cooper was Houston's director of scouting (2004-07) and vice president of player personnel (2007-08) before becoming assistant coach for Minnesota for the 2008-09 season. He served one year as a regional scout for Minnesota (2009-10) and then became the director of player development for Portland.
“The Utah Jazz and Idaho Stampede are both model organizations with winning traditions and passionate fans,” Cooper said. “I am looking forward to working with Coach Snyder as we develop a unified approach to player development while continuing to put a team on the floor that will compete every night and make the Boise community proud.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder is a former D-League coach.
“Having coached in the D-League for three seasons, I learned what an extension your affiliate is of your NBA program,” said Utah Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder. “Dean has a proven history of player development which is an integral aspect of my coaching philosophy. As an extension of our staff, he will work hand-in-hand with us to establish a clear, seamless connection to ensure we are stressing the same principles in Utah and Idaho.”
Cooper said he has visited Boise a handful of times while working in scouting and player personnel. He previously worked with Lindsey in Houston and said he sought out the job.
"I've been able to do a lot of different things in my career, so something new like being a head coach, working with the Jazz, in a city like Boise, it's a perfect storm," Cooper said.