When the Toronto Raptors made a change at head coach in June of 2018, it came as somewhat of a surprise to the general NBA. After all, former coach Dwane Casey had found major success with the team and led them to the top of the Eastern Conference during the regular season. The only issue? Casey’s postseason success wasn’t what the front office clearly hoped, and this opened the door for former assistant Nick Nurse to take over.
Nurse worked under Casey for five seasons as an assistant for the Raptors, and previously coached in the NBA G League where he won two championships. He was also named the G League’s coach of the year once over that stretch. Nurse received the job following a regular season in which Casey led the Raptors to a franchise-record 59 wins, but the team was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs.
After taking over for Casey, Nurse led the Raptors to a 58-24 record in 2018-19 and the No. 2 seed in the East. He obviously received a nice pay bump as the new coach but is currently working under just a three-year deal.
Nick Nurse’s Contract & Salary With Raptors
Shortly after the news of Casey being relieved of his duties by the Raptors, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the team’s hiring of Nurse. The promotion featured a three-year deal worth $10 million. Casey was hired by the Detroit Pistons to be their next coach, and Nurse previously praised his former boss during an interview with Canada’s Sportsnet, as Wojnarowski revealed.
“I’ve learned a lot about preparation from [Casey], the seriousness of attention to detail,” Nurse told Sportsnet in February. “He’s been around the league a long time, and he’s seen it all. That’s the biggest thing. We have to prepare the players and can’t leave any stone unturned. We have to know everything the other team is doing and really work hard and grind it out.”
While the job with Toronto is Nurse’s first NBA head coaching gig, he’s spent time with a number of other teams over his career. This included stretches in the D-League (now G League), college basketball and in Europe.
Nick Nurse’s Previous Coaching Jobs
After playing for the University of Northern Iowa, Nurse was named the head coach at Grand View University when he was just 23 years old. Following that, he coached in Europe for 11 seasons before taking over as the head coach of the Iowa Energy in the D-League in 2007. From there, he nearly went to the college ranks as an assistant at Iowa State but proceeded to stay with the Energy through 2011.
After that season, Nurse coached the Rio Grande Valley Vipers from 2011-13 before becoming an assistant under Casey with the Raptors in 2013. The 51-year-old coach is looking to parlay his team’s strong regular season into postseason success and also build a consistent contender with the team’s talented core.