Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Nick Nurse: 10 Things to Know

Nick Nurse

Nick Nurse achieved a historic feat in his rookie season as an NBA head coach by leading the Raptors to their first NBA title. Since then, he has proven his ability to adapt and succeed despite the loss of key players like Kawhi Leonard. Let’s explore ten things you should know about Nick Nurse, from his upbringing in Iowa to his respected status as an NBA coach.

Iowa Born and Raised

Before his North American basketball journey, Nick Nurse had a quintessential Midwestern upbringing in Carroll, Iowa. Raised by his father, who coached youth basketball and Little League baseball, Nurse developed a passion for sports at a young age.

All-Around Athlete

Nick Nurse was a versatile athlete who excelled in multiple sports. He not only played football and competed in pole vaulting, but he also led his high school basketball team, the Kuemper Knights, to a state 3A championship.

(Un)Lucky Break

Sometimes, opportunities arise unexpectedly. Nurse’s chance to showcase his skills came when an All-State guard was injured during the Iowa All-Star game. As a result, Nurse stepped up and impressed everyone, earning himself a scholarship offer from Northern Iowa.


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During his time at Northern Iowa, Nick Nurse established himself as the university’s all-time leading three-point shooter. He boasts an impressive career shooting percentage of 46.8% from beyond the arc.


Nurse knew he wanted to continue his basketball career, either as a player or a coach. At the age of 23, he had the unique opportunity to both play and coach for the Derby Rams in the British Basketball League.

O’er the Pond and Back Again

To further develop his coaching skills, Nurse embarked on a journey that took him across continents. He gained invaluable experience in Iowa, South Dakota, England, Belgium, and Oklahoma, constantly honing his craft.

D League Determination

Nurse’s unwavering determination to make it to the NBA led him to reach out to league personnel persistently. Eventually, his efforts paid off when he played a pivotal role in bringing an expansion team, the Iowa Energy, to Des Moines, Iowa. He became the team’s first head coach.

Building a Reputation

Rather than treating his time in the D-League (now the G League) as a mere stepping stone, Nurse excelled. He won the Coach of the Year award in 2011 and led two different teams to D-League championships.

Raptors Come Calling

Nurse’s success in the D-League caught the attention of the Toronto Raptors. In 2013, they brought him on board as part of their coaching staff. Nurse’s attention to detail in the film room contributed significantly to the improvement of the Raptors’ offense, resulting in 59 regular-season wins in 2017-18.

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He’s the Guy

When the Toronto Raptors were looking for a new head coach in the summer of 2018, they conducted an extensive search. Despite rumors of bigger names with previous NBA head coaching experience, it turned out that the ideal candidate was already within the organization. Upon being offered the job, Nurse kept the news only to himself, but it quickly spread, leading to a flood of congratulatory messages.


Q: How did Nick Nurse make history as an NBA head coach?

A: Nick Nurse made history by leading the Raptors to their first NBA title in his rookie season as a head coach.

Q: What are some of Nick Nurse’s achievements in the D-League?

A: Nick Nurse won the Coach of the Year award in 2011 and led two different teams to D-League championships.

Q: How did Nick Nurse contribute to the success of the Toronto Raptors?

A: Nick Nurse’s meticulous approach in the film room played a significant role in improving the Raptors’ offense, resulting in 59 regular-season wins in 2017-18.


Nick Nurse, the head coach of the Toronto Raptors, has had an extraordinary journey in the basketball world. From his upbringing in Iowa to his coaching success in the NBA, Nurse’s story is one of determination, adaptability, and passion. As a player and coach, he has left his mark on the sport, achieving historic milestones and building a reputation as one of the most respected coaches in the NBA. As we continue to witness his career unfold, it’s clear that Nick Nurse’s impact on the game extends far beyond one championship season. Visit to learn more about the fascinating world of basketball and the inspiring figures within it.

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