By Matt Schwab
Staff Writer, Bay Area News Group
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets coaching staff has a distinct East Bay flavor.
First-year Denver coach Brian Shaw, a former Bishop O'Dowd High-Oakland player, added assistants and East Bay friends Chris Farr and Lester Conner to his new staff in July.
Farr coached at Contra Costa College in San Pablo for more than 10 years, during which time he finished his degree at Cal State East Bay. He was also an all-conference player for the Comets.
Conner, a first-round pick of the Warriors in 1982 (14th overall), where he played for four seasons, played at Fremont High-Oakland, Los Medanos College-Pittsburg, Chabot-Hayward and Oregon State. He won a CIF State Championship his senior year. He joined Denver's staff after coaching with the Atlanta Hawks. He's been an NBA assistant for 15 years and played for 13 years.
Shaw spoke glowingly of his Oakland ties and his coaching pals before Monday night's game against the Warriors.
"I grew up following Lester Conner," Shaw said. "He was a guy who didn't start on his high school team that won a state championship at Fremont High School. I didn't start on my high school team, either, and I always said, 'He made it, and so I can do it.' He played in the league, obviously, for a long time."
Shaw added that he and Farr, a former Loyola Marymount assistant, have been close friends for more than 35 years. The two grew up together.
"We all grew up Warrior fans, and we make it very clear to everybody around here that we're proud of where we're from," Shaw said of the East Bay trio.
So Monday's game against the Warriors was also about bragging rights.
"You always want to have a good showing against your hometown, which we all want to do," Shaw said. "We all still have connections there in Oakland, and it's a place that I'm proud to be from."