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Shock hire Gary Kloppenburg as coach

TULSA, Okla. -- The Tulsa Shock hired Indiana Fever assistant Gary Kloppenburg on Tuesday to be their next head coach.

Kloppenburg spent the past four seasons with the Fever, who made the playoffs each of those seasons and lost in the Eastern Conference finals last year. He also has been an assistant coach for the WNBA's Seattle Storm and the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA.

He replaces Hall of Fame player Teresa Edwards, who took over on an interim basis after Nolan Richardson stepped down last season. Kloppenburg will be charged with improving the franchise with the league's worst record over the past two seasons, following a relocation from Detroit.

The Shock won only three games last season and are 9-59 in two seasons in Tulsa.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to come to Tulsa, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on building a winning franchise," Kloppenburg said in a statement released by the team.

"I'll work non-stop with our staff and front office to build a team that the community can be proud of. We have a good core of young players to build around and with the upcoming free agency period and draft, we will have a chance to be competitive right away."

Kloppenburg will be formally introduced Wednesday. His former boss, Indiana's Lin Dunn, predicted that Kloppenburg "will make Tulsa an immediate playoff contender."

"We are extremely excited and looking forward to Gary leading our team on the court in 2012 and beyond," team owner Bill Cameron said. "His experience in this league along with his reputation and basketball knowledge will translate to progress on the court in 2012."

Despite having the league's worst record each of the past two seasons, Tulsa again won't have the No. 1 pick in this year's draft. The Shock lost the draft lottery and won't select until the fourth pick. They also have the 17th and 25th picks.

Kloppenburg also expressed hope that Tulsa will pursue free agents once the signing period begins Jan. 15.

"There are a number of excellent free agents available that I am confident will want to come to Tulsa and become a part of a franchise on the rise, and we will be aggressively reaching out to them in the coming months," Kloppenburg said.

"I envision a Shock team next season that will play tough and aggressive pressure defense as well as be able to run an up tempo and early flow offense. We know we have a lot of hard work to do in 2012, but good players and coaches relish challenges such as the one in front of us."