OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Dave Cowens was known as an overachiever during an 11-year playing career that led to the Hall of Fame. He'll need that same quality next season when he takes over as coach of the woeful Golden State Warriors.
Cowens, who has been with Golden State as an assistant since Jan. 31, will replace Garry St. Jean as coach after tonight's season finale against Phoenix. St. Jean will remain general manager.
Cowens will inherit a team with six straight losing seasons, a squad that has the third-worst record in the NBA this season.
''As a player, he had a reputation as a hard-nosed guy who really accomplished a lot he wasn't supposed to,'' said Warriors forward Antawn Jamison. ''He's a guy that really lays down the discipline, and I feel that's something that's really going to benefit this club.''
On April 9, in the seconds following a 117-103 home win against Denver, St. Jean hugged Cowens and told him to take his job. Nine days later, after Cowens worked out a three-year deal with the Warriors, St. Jean made the move official.
St. Jean announced at a party for season-ticket holders Tuesday night that Cowens, former coach of the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets, will replace him as Warriors coach.
''We felt, looking around the league, you're not going to find a better candidate out there right now,'' St. Jean said.
Cowens resigned as Charlotte's coach 15 games into the 1998-99 season. He has a 136-111 record as coach with the Celtics (1978-79) and Hornets (1996-99).
Cowens, who starred for 10 seasons with the Celtics and was the league's MVP in 1972-73, spent his final season as a player with the 1982-83 Milwaukee Bucks -- on which St. Jean was an assistant. He said he feels comfortable with the Warriors.
''I know the personnel. I know the general manager and have a good relationship with him,'' said Cowens, who has never been specific about why he left the Hornets in 1999 and skirted the subject again Tuesday. ''When someone wants you and they need you, it's a good place to be.''
St. Jean, who has been Golden State's general manager since the 1997-98 season, took over as coach when he fired P.J. Carlesimo on Dec. 28. He said the move was announced Tuesday so he and Cowens could discuss the change with Warriors players before they disperse for the offseason.
St. Jean expected to stay as coach next year, but changed his mind this month after determining it was too difficult being both coach and general manager.
''I came to the conclusion it would be best for me serving the team to go back upstairs. There were a lot of times I was looking over my shoulder to the office,'' he said. ''I look at our team and our record. We have a lot of decisions to make, basketball wise.''
The Warriors were 6-21 when Carlesimo was fired in late December. But the losing continued under St. Jean, who was 13-41 heading into tonight's game.
St. Jean coached the Sacramento Kings for five years before taking the general manager's job with the Warriors. Jamison said the players knew St. Jean wanted to go back to that front-office job.
''I think a lot of guys knew Saint was going to give it up. We didn't know it would be this year, we thought it might be next year,'' Jamison said. ''I knew Saint would rather be up there with his kids and his wife watching the game, and I think he deserved that.''
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