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Nuggets Give Issel 4 More Years

Dan Issel, president and coach of the Denver Nuggets, signed a four-year contract Tuesday to remain with the team.

Issel, who spent 10 years of his Hall of Fame playing career with the Nuggets, became the team's general manager in March 1998. On Sept. 14, 1999, he took over as president of basketball operations and head coach.

"We are extremely pleased to have Dan in the fold for several years to come," said Don Elliman, president of Ascent Sports Holdings, which owns the Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Pepsi Center. "He has a proven track record of producing results, and we are confident in his abilities to lead this franchise to success both on and off the court."

It was the second signing of a sports executive by Ascent in the past two weeks. On Jan. 17, Elliman signed Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix to a contract extension believed to be for five years.

Last year, Denver billionaire Donald Sturm bid $461 million to purchase the three sports properties from Ascent, but the deal fell through and Ascent retained possession.

Issel had agreed with Sturm on a new contract, which was torn up when those negotiations collapsed. He has been working under his previous contract as general manager.

The contract was announced just hours after Issel concluded a five-player deal that brings Orlando's Chris Gatling and Tariq Abdul-Wahad to the Nuggets in exchange for Ron Mercer, Chauncey Billups and Johnny Taylor.

"I'm delighted to receive such a strong commitment from Ascent and Don," Issel said. "He has provided a steadying influence since his arrival and has been a pleasure to work with. I look forward to continuing our efforts to make this basketball team a contender."

In his second stint as the Nuggets head coach, Issel has led the team to a 20-22 record this season. Denver won only 14 games last season and just 11 the season before. Issel compiled a 96-102 record in two-plus seasons as Denver's head coach from 1992-95.

In 1994, he led the Nuggets to a first-round playoff upset of Seattle the first time an eighth-seeded team had knocked off a No. 1 seed.

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