Mark Warkentien Dies at Age 69; Won 2008-09 NBA Executive of the Year with Nuggets

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 24, 2022

DENVER - DECEMBER 19: (L-R) Vice President of Player Personnel Rex Chapman and Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien of the Denver Nuggets announce that they have traded four players for Allen Iverson and Ivan McFarlin from the Philadelphia 76ers during a press conference on December 19, 2006 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE  (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Former Denver Nuggets general manager Mark Warkentien died Friday at the age of 69, the team announced:

Denver Nuggets @nuggets

The Denver Nuggets organization is saddened to learn of the passing of former Executive of the Year Mark Warkentein. <br><br>Our thoughts and condolences are with his loved ones. <a href="https://t.co/wchtYRNfjg">pic.twitter.com/wchtYRNfjg</a>

UNLV, where Warkentien coached in the 1980s, also paid tribute:

UNLV Men's Basketball @TheRunninRebels

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Mark Warkentien earlier today.<br><br>Mark was a big part of the Runnin' Rebels' success under Coach Tarkanian. He was an assistant coach at UNLV from 1981-87. <a href="https://t.co/tEfqTxKK2w">pic.twitter.com/tEfqTxKK2w</a>

He worked under famed coach Jerry Tarkanian and was on staff as the squad reached the Final Four in 1987.

In the NBA, Warkentien worked his way up from a scout to eventually becoming GM of the Nuggets from 2006-10. The squad reached the playoffs in each of his four years at the helm, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2009.

He was named Executive of the Year that season after adding Chauncey Billups and Chris Andersen to a team that already had Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.

After leaving the Nuggets, Warkentien held front-office roles with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.