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HOUSTON — Quin Snyder is starting to get an NBA coaching tree of his own.
Utah Jazz lead assistant Igor Kokoskov was hired Wednesday as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was first to confirm the news, and KSL.com can confirm the report.
Kokoskov will be the first European-born head coach in NBA history. Born in Banatski Brestovac, Serbia, he also was the head coach of the Slovenian men's national basketball team, leading them to a Eurobasket title alongside likely top NBA draft pick Luka Doncic.
"Igor has been a pioneer throughout his basketball career and he brings a wealth of high-level coaching experience to our club," Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said in a statement.
"Igor's teams have always had a player development focus, a creative style of play and a track record of success."
Kokoskov is no stranger to making history. After being hired by Snyder in 1999 at Missouri, he was the first European-born assistant coach in NCAA Division I history. Kokoskov led the Jazz for one game, a 107-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017 after Snyder missed a game due to illness.
But that wasn't the extent of Kokoskov's contributions to the Jazz. Kokoskov worked on the player development of Ricky Rubio, Raul Neto, George Hill and other Jazz point guards since joining the team in 2015. Kokoskov was also an important voice in Snyder's Xs and Os planning throughout their three seasons together.
"I’ve told him for a number of years that I think he’s a head coach in the NBA," Snyder said when asked about Kokoskov interviewing for the job a week ago. "It’s taken him some time to see himself that way because he’s just been focused on doing his job.
"I think he always knew he was talented, but he’s very humble and I think this past summer he had an opportunity and got an experience that I think helped him grow even more," Snyder continued. "Obviously, he’s someone that I rely on and our whole staff does."
The news was reported while Kokoskov sat courtside before the Jazz's Game 2 matchup against the Houston Rockets.