Osowski coached for 20 years

Updated: August 27, 2004, 1:39 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Mark Osowski has died after he was stricken with pancreatitis. He was 41.

He died Sunday at the Cleveland Clinic, the Cavaliers announced Monday, and had been hospitalized for some time.

"This is a tragic loss for all of us," said Jim Paxson, Cavaliers president and general manager. "Mark lived life to the fullest and he worked passionately every day. He was such a vibrant and dynamic person to be around. I respected him greatly, as did our entire organization. He will be missed very much."

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach that secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine.

Osowski had 20 years of coaching experience. He began his NBA career in 1996 as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets. Osowski and Cavaliers coach Paul Silas worked as assistants in Charlotte from 1997-99 under Dave Cowens.

Osowski remained on the coaching staff when Silas was promoted to head coach midway through the 1998-99 season and continued as an assistant during Silas' first full season as Hornets coach in 1999-2000.

He then coached for three seasons with the Golden State Warriors before joining Silas' staff in Cleveland.

"Mark had a very positive impact on the players and staff alike," Silas said. "He touched all of us every day with his charisma and sense of humor. He was a wonderful friend and one of the hardest working people I've ever worked with."

He is survived by his wife Kristin-Ann. Funeral arrangements are not complete.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press