Although the Raptors lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the defending champions defied expectations this season, and a large part of that is due to the coaching job of Nick Nurse. After Kawhi Leonard left in free agency last summer, not many expected Toronto to be dominant this season, but Nurse made sure that his team brought the same championship-caliber play all season long. The Raptors were among the league's best defensive squads, they had two players who were named All-Stars and the team continued to develop its diamond-in-the-rough players in OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet.
However, most of the Raptors' success this season should be attributed to Nurse, who was named Coach of the Year in just his second season as an NBA head coach. As a result of his great work, he also has a new contract. The Raptors announced Tuesday morning that the franchise would be signing Nurse to a multiyear extension, though the details of the contract are unknown.
"My family and I will always be appreciative of Larry Tanenbaum and MLSE ownership for this opportunity. I'm grateful to Masai [Ujiri], Bobby, and the players for their trust and their hard work," Nurse said. "Toronto has been my home for the past seven years, and I look forward to it being home for many more. I've watched this franchise grow and reach the pinnacle, and I look forward to the challenge of helping us win another championship."
In the statement released by the team, Raptors president Masai Ujiri heaped mountains of praise on Nurse.
"Our confidence in Nick just continues to grow, and part of that comes from what we've experienced together. The past two seasons have been unlike any other in our team's history -- first, winning our championship, and then navigating a global pandemic and committing long-term to the fight against racism and for social justice," Ujiri said. "Nick has proved that he can coach on the court and lead in life, and we're looking forward to accomplishing great things in the future."
Not many have had the journey to be an NBA coach quite like Nurse, who first coached overseas in Belgium and England, where he also earned two Coach of the Year honors. He was also an assistant for England's national team, before returning back to the United States to coach in the G League, where he won Coach of the Year in 2011, in addition to winning a G League championship with the Raptors 905. Eventually, he got the call to be an assistant on Dwane Casey's coaching staff, and was elevated to the top position after Casey was fired in 2018.
He's amassed a 111-43 record over his two years coaching the Raptors, and set a franchise record with a .721 win percentage. He's the only head coach to ever win a championship in both the G League and the NBA, as well as win Coach of the Year in both leagues.