The Houston Rockets have dismissed Dean Cooper as assistant coach. Cooper was one of the few members of the Rockets’ organization dating back to the Rudy Tomjanovich era.
Dean Cooper said Sunday that he was dismissed from his assistant coaching position on Friday. “I had two good stints with the Rockets,” Cooper said. “I’m very proud of the work that I did while I was here.”
Darryl Eto, the Rockets Director of Strength and Conditioning, also will not return, a person with knowledge of the decision said. Eto had completed a three-year contract with the team. The Rockets did not pick up their option on a fourth year of Cooper’s contract. Cooper declined to address additional questions beyond confirming a Tweet from Fran Blinebury of NBA.com late Saturday reporting that Cooper had been fired.
Cooper began with the Rockets in 1999 as a video coordinator, eventually becoming an assistant coach on Tomjanovich’s staff. When Jeff Van Gundy succeeded Tomjanovich, Cooper moved to the front office as a scout eventually becoming the director of scouting and vice president for player personnel. He moved to the Minnesota Timberwolves to return to the bench, including a stint when Rockets coach Kevin McHale was the interim coach, and also worked for the Portland Trail Blazers under Nate McMillan.
Cooper returned to Houston when McHale took over before the 2011-12 season.