Indiana Pacers pull a Nick Nurse in hiring Nate Bjorkgren as coach

Nate Bjorkgren greets Suns center Alex Len during a Summer League game on July 11, 2015, in Las Vegas.
(Ronda Churchill / Associated Press)

The Indiana Pacers have reportedly hired Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as coach, replacing Nate McMillan, who was fired after this season.

It’s a similar move the Raptors made in hiring Nick Nurse, who had been only a head coach in pro basketball’s minor leagues before leading Toronto to the NBA title in his second season.

Bjorkgren, 45, grew up in the Midwest and primarily coached in the NBA developmental league. The native of Storm Lake, Iowa, won a D-League title with the Iowa Energy in 2011 after a five-year run with the club that began with Nurse as head coach.


After coaching the Dakota Wizards and Santa Cruz Warriors over the next two seasons, Bjorkgren returned to the Energy in 2013-14 before leading the Bakersfield Jam the next season. Bjorkgren finished with a record of 126-74 in the developmental league before joining the Phoenix Suns as an assistant for the 2015-16 season.

Bjorkgren then joined Nurse in Toronto before the 2018-19 season, when the Raptors won the NBA championship.

Wire and internet reports contributed to this story.