Pacers appoint Raptors assistant Bjorkgren as head coach

Oleh Sacha Pisani 21 Oktober 2020 2
Pacers appoint Raptors assistant Bjorkgren as head coach

The Indiana Pacers have appointed Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as their new head coach, the NBA franchise announced.

Bjorkgren replaces Nate McMillan, who was sacked after the Pacers were swept in the first round of the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

The 45-year-old Bjorkgren served as Raptors assistant for the past two seasons, helping Toronto to their first NBA championship in 2018-19.

"I am honoured to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers," said Bjorkgren. "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."

Bjorkgren was also player development co-ordinator and assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns between 2015 and 2017, having served as a head coach in the NBA G League for four seasons – compiling a 126-74 record with the Bakersfield Jam (2014-15), Iowa Energy (2013-14), Santa Cruz Warriors (2012-13), and Dakota Wizards (2011-12).

"We are very pleased and excited to have Nate as our new coach," said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. "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."

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