Sports

Pacers hire Toronto's Nate Bjorkgren

The Indiana Pacers have hired Toronto Raptors assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren to be their next head coach.

 

Bjorkgren joined Toronto’s scouting department in 2017 and was promoted to assistant coach when Nick Nurse assumed head-coaching duties the following season. He was part of a staff that led the Raptors to the 2019 NBA championship.

 

Before his time in Toronto, Bjorkgren was an assistant with the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, he was a coach in the NBA G-League.

 

“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.”

 

“I am honored 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.”

 

The Pacers fired coach Nate McMillan shortly after their season ended in 2020 with a loss in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs to the Miami Heat. McMillan had a 183-136 record in Indiana, including 3-16 in the postseason.

 

The Pacers have made five consecutive postseason appearances but have been swept in the first round each of the past two years.