Pacers hire Raptors assistant as new head coach

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: Assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren of the Toronto Raptors looks on against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on October 18, 2019 in New York, New York. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indiana Pacers have made a decision about who will fill their head coaching vacancy.

The team announced on Tuesday that it is hiring Raptors assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren.

According to ESPN, the 45-year-old Bjorkgren has been with the Raptors since 2018.

Bjorkgren also worked with the Phoenix Suns for two seasons between 2015 and 2017 as an assistant coach and player development coordinator.

“I am honored to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers,” Bjorkgren said in in the team’s announcement. “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.”

The Pacers fired Nate McMillan after the team was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat.

Pacers President of Basketball Operations, Kevin Pritchard, said the search for a new head coach was extensive, but that Bjorkgren was the right choice.

“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,” said Pritchard.

“I’m looking forward to working with this team to achieve our goal as NBA Champions,” said Bjorkgren.