- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2002


Washington Wizards coach Doug Collins was named NBA Coach of the Month yesterday for games played in December.

Collins guided the Wizards to an 11-4 mark, equaling the highest win total for December in the franchise's history. The Baltimore Bullets went 11-4 in December 1968 under Gene Shue.

Ten losses in 13 games left the Wizards at 5-12 following a defeat at San Antonio on Dec.4. They then ran off nine consecutive victories to tie a franchise record.

The Wizards went 6-1 in the Atlantic Division, including a 98-76 win over the Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey Nets. The Wizards also went 6-3 on the road during the month, including wins at Dallas, Toronto and New York.

"I told the players the reward is that you guys played well. When your players play well, the coach gets rewards," Collins said. "I told them at the start of the season that if we win, that's when this organization will get recognized. [Richard Hamilton has] been player of the month, [Brendan Haywood has] been rookie of the month. Michael's got a great chance to be player of the week. Great things are ahead.

"Am a proud? Sure I am. A lot of hard work went into it. I knew that when we were 2-9 we were a lot closer to where we wanted to be than the record indicated. But I just really thank the guys for what they've done every single day. I've got a great group of guys. I love to work with them, I love to teach them, and I love to be on the floor with them."

John N. Mitchell

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