As an assistant coach in the NBA, Bjorkgren has had success, and he’s had success coaching in the D-League. Here’s some more information about the new Pacers head coach.
Nate Bjorkgren started his coaching career in high school before coaching in the D-League
After he graduated from college, Bjorkgren knew he wanted to stay involved in basketball. In 1998, he was the head coach of the Sophomore team and assistant to the varsity team at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, IA. Bjorkgren moved to Arizona after coaching in Iowa. He started his head coaching career when he moved out there. Bjorkgren was the head coach at Cactus Shadows High School.
At Cactus Shadows, Bjorkgren had a lot of success. He served as the coach there from 2004 to 2007. In each of his three seasons coaching there, he led the team to the Cactus 4A State Tournament. Bjorkgren was named both the Regional Coach of the Year during the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons and the Arizona State High School Coach of the Year for the 2005–06 season.
With the success that he had at the high school level, he started to gain notice from the professional level. In 2007, he was contacted about an assistant coach role under Nick Nurse’s coaching staff for a new expansion D-League team with the Iowa Energy. Bjorkgren had the opportunity to return home to coach, and he did not pass up on the chance to do so.
Beginning his professional career in the D-League
From 2007 to 2011, Bjorkgren served as the assistant coach for the Energy. He made his coaching debut in the D-League during his last season with the Energy. The Energy won their first-ever D-League championship in Bjorkgren’s last season as an assistant coach. After his time with the Energy, he became the head coach for the Dakota Wizards. During his time as head coach of the Wizards, he helped the team improve to a 29-21 record after finishing with a 19-31 record the previous season.
The Wizards changed their name to the Santa Cruz Warriors due to the Golden State Warriors gaining complete control over the franchise. Under their first season as the Warriors, Bjorkgren led the team to their first D-League Finals as the Warriors, eventually losing to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Bjorkgren returned to the Energy after coaching the Warriors. In his lone season as head coach of the Energy, the team improved to a 31-19 record. After spending a season with the Energy, he served as head coach of the Bakersfield Jam. During his tenure there, the team finished with a 34-16 record.
Throughout his time in the D-League, Bjorkgren helped turn teams into winning programs. After his stint with the Jam, he made his way to the NBA ranks.
Bjorkgren going from high school to the NBA
Bjorkgren came a long way, starting his coaching career at the high school level. In 2015, he was promoted to the NBA by being named both an assistant coach and the Phoenix Suns leading player development coordinator. He served as the assistant coach for the Suns from 2015 to 2017. After his time in Phoenix, he was reunited with Nick Nurse in Toronto and was named an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors.
During his time with the Raptors, he was a part of the 2019 NBA championship team. Bjorkgren became the first assistant coach to win both an NBA Finals and NBA D-League (now the G League) Championship. He won both titles under Nick Nurse as head coach.
Now, Bjorkgren is a head coach in the NBA. He has worked his way to get to where he is today and has had a lot of experience. While this will be his first year as head coach, he has still been around the NBA for multiple years, and he will use his basketball knowledge and experience to lead the Pacers to a successful season.