Indiana Pacers Name Raptors Assistant the Team’s New Head Coach
After their many years together, Nick Nurse and Nate Bjorkgren will be parting ways.
On Tuesday, the Indiana Pacers announced that they are hiring the Toronto Raptors assistant as their new head coach, to replace the recently fired Nate McMillan. The terms of the deal have not been made public as of yet.
“We are very pleased and excited to have Nate as our new coach,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement released by the team. “This was an extensive and thorough search, and when we reached the conclusion, we felt strongly Nate is the right coach for us at the right time. He comes from a winning background, has experienced championship success, is innovative and his communication skills along with his positivity are tremendous. We all look forward to a long, successful partnership in helping the Pacers move forward.”
Good luck next year, Coach!
(Except three times a year) pic.twitter.com/TxBbExgSSu
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 20, 2020
For the 45-year old Bjorkgren, this will be his first NBA head coaching opportunity after spending many years as an assistant. He previously worked as a coach in the G League in Iowa alongside Nurse, after which he joined the Phoenix Suns coaching staff. In 2018, he was reunited with Nurse and helped guide the Raptors too a championship the following year.
“I am honored to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers,” Bjorkgren said in a statement. “This is something I have prepared for during my career. I want to thank Kevin, Chad (Buchanan), Kelly (Krauskopf), Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh, and Herb and Steve Simon for this opportunity. I also want to thank Nick Nurse for giving me my first professional coaching job 14 years ago.
“I’m looking forward to working with this great team to achieve our goal as NBA Champions.”
The Pacers have made it to the postseason each of the past five season, but have failed to make much noise in the playoffs.