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Nick Nurse relieved of head coaching duties — Raptors to start search for new leader

Nick Nurse spent five seasons as Head Coach and ten with the Raptors, winning Coach of the Year and the 2019 NBA Championship.

Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

It was announced Friday morning that Head Coach Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors have parted ways. The team released a statement that Nurse has been “relieved of his duties as the team’s head coach.”

The decision comes after a tumultuous season for the Raptors as they lost in the Play-In Tournament after going 41-41 in the regular season. There had been rumblings of Nurse leaving the team late in the season when he made remarks to the media that it was a good time to re-evaluate this situation after ten years with the organization.

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri said that this staffing change is “an opportunity for us to reset, to refocus, to put into place the personnel and the players who will help us reach our goal of winning our next championship.”

Nick Nurse joined the Raptors organization in 2013, and was an assistant coach until June 2018 when he was named head coach. He was the ninth head coach in Toronto Raptors franchise history. In Nurse’s five seasons as head coach, he held a winning percentage of .582 with a record of 227 wins and 163 losses. He nearly beat the franchise record of wins in a single season his first year, winning 58 games. It was in that first year he became the ninth coach in NBA history to win a championship in their first season as head coach.

In his second season, Nurse represented Toronto as coach at the NBA All-Star Game, and won coach of the year. The team won 53 games that season.

“The decision to make a change like this is never arrived at easily or taken lightly,” said Ujiri “especially when it comes to a person who has been an integral part of this franchise’s most historic accomplishments, and who has been a steady leader through some of our team’s most challenging times. As we reflect on Nick’s many successes, we thank him and his family, and wish them the best in future.”

Though there are no concrete answers of who will replace Nick Nurse as Toronto Raptors head coach, the rumours are already swirling. Masai Ujiri will speak to the media later this morning.