Iowa Native Nick Nurse Named NBA Coach of the Year
He led his team to its first championship last year, and in a crazy 2019-20 NBA season, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse achieved another personal first--Coach of the Year honors, according to NBA.com.
Nurse is a native of Carroll, Iowa who played at the University of Northern Iowa. The Toronto Raptors earned their first NBA Championship under his tutelage last year, and things were going well this season, too--then the Coronavirus pandemic hit. The season was cut short in early March and the award is based on achievements and records up to that point. Nurse received 90 of a total of 100 available first-place votes of sportswriters and broadcasters who make the decision.
The Raptors were 46-18 at the shutdown on March 11, the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and third-best in the NBA. The season restarted with seeding games to determine playoff placement on July 30. Toronto may be well on their way to another title heading into an Eastern Conference semifinals series with the Boston Celtics this week.
It's Nurse's first time being honored as Red Auerbach Coach of the Year but he is the third Toronto coach to win following Sam Mitchell in 2006-07 and Nurse's predecessor Dwayne Casey in 2017-18. Nurse was hired in 2018 to succeed Casey after 5 years as his assistant in Toronto.
He earned coaching accolades previously in the NBA's "G League" developmental league with the Iowa Energy and Grande Valley Vipers. He is the only person to win Coach of the Year in both the G League and NBA itself. Congratulations!