INDIANAPOLIS (WFFT) – The Indiana Pacers announced Tuesday that they have hired Nate Bjorkgren as head coach. Per team policy, the terms of the contract were not released.
Bjorkgren (pronounced BEE-ork-gren) served as assistant coach of the Toronto Raptors during the past two seasons (2018-20), and helped the Raptors win their first NBA Championship during the 2018-19 season.
He also served as player development coordinator and assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns for two seasons from 2015-17 before joining the Raptors as an advanced scout during the 2017-18 season.
"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."
Prior to his tenure as an NBA assistant, Bjorkgren served as a head coach in the NBA G League for four seasons and compiled a 126-74 record (.630) with the Bakersfield Jam (2014-15), Iowa Energy (2013-14), Santa Cruz Warriors (2012-13), and Dakota Wizards (2011-12). He served as an assistant coach under current Raptors head coach Nick Nurse for Iowa from 2007-11 and helped the Energy win the 2010-11 NBA G League championship.
"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."
Bjorkgren is a native of Storm Lake, Iowa. He played basketball collegiately at the University of South Dakota and Buena Vista University in Iowa.