This week Nick Nurse agreed to become the next coach of the Toronto Raptors. He replaces Dwane Casey, who was fired after the Raptors were swept by Cleveland in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Nurse was Casey’s Assistant Coach for the last five NBA seasons and following Casey might be difficult. Last year, the Raptors set a new season win total by going 59-23, the top mark in the Eastern Conference and the second-best regular-season record in the NBA.
What do we know about Nick Nurse? Here are 10 Things we find interesting about Nurse.
Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Raptors have promoted Nick Nurse to the head coaching position pic.twitter.com/EFuPPbfXrP
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 12, 2018
#1: Helped Bring D League Basketball to Iowa
More than a decade ago, Nick Nurse convinced his lawyer friend Jerry Crawford to bring D League basketball to Des Moines, Iowa (Nurse’s home state). Together they helped start the Iowa Energy (now the Iowa Wolves) in 2007. Nurse was the Energy’s first head coach. Interestingly, Nurse had to start his own team to become a head coach.
#2: Was College Head Coach at Age of 23
Obviously, Nurse is head coach material. He was the head coach at Grand View College at just 23. Grand View College (now Grand View University) is a private liberal arts college in Des Moines, Iowa. Nurse was the youngest college basketball coach in the United States.
#3: Coached in Europe For More Than Ten Years
Nurse coached for 12 seasons in Europe, mostly in the British Basketball League (BBL). He coached six teams in the British League and won the BBL Coach of the Year twice –in 1999-00 and in 2003-04. As a 20-year old player/coach for the Derby Storm of the British Basketball League, he led players more than ten years older than he was. Nurse was an assistant on Great Britain’s Olympic Games’ basketball squad at the 2012 London games.
#4: Beat Out Another European Basketball Coach for the Raptors’ Job.
As rumor has it, Nurse beat out San Antonio assistant coach Ettore Messina for the Raptor’s job. Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri – always an international thinker – had narrowed his choice to Messina or Nurse. Mike Budenholzer, former Atlanta Hawks head coach, had been seen a front-runner but was hired by the Milwaukee Bucks.
#5: An Offensive Specialist
Nurse was credited with the Raptors’ successful offensive this year, where they became the third best offense in the league overall, jumping from 22nd to third in three-pointers.