The 76ers have hired Nick Nurse as their new head coach, replacing Doc Rivers with a proven winner who has championship experience. The Sixers, who have not advanced beyond the second round since 2001, have a deep desire to capitalize on Joel Embiid’s prime and compete for a title. They have decided Nurse is the man to lead them there. Here’s a little more about the Sixers’ latest high-profile hire:
How he got into basketball
An Iowa native, Nurse entered into the sport as a player at Kuemper Catholic and Northern Iowa. He played with Creighton coach Greg McDermott there and still holds the school’s record for three-point shooting percentage. Even back then, there were some signs of Nurse’s future in coaching as he served as a student assistant coach during his final year. Nurse went on to play one season in the British Basketball League.
His path to the NBA
Nurse took an unusual path to the NBA. After starting out in the college ranks, Nurse took off for Europe. There, he won a title and served as a head coach for 11 seasons, mostly in the British Basketball League. He returned stateside when he took a position as head coach of the Iowa Energy and later joined the Rio Grand Valley Vipers, where he won and title and developed a relationship with Daryl Morey as part of the Houston Rockets organization.
His experience in Toronto
Nurse took an assistant coaching job with the Toronto Raptors in 2013, working as an assistant on Dwane Casey’s staff before he was fired in 2018. Nurse took over as head coach from there, leading the franchise to its first title alongside Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. He stayed in that position until this offseason, when he was let go after losing in the play-in game. In between, he made second- and first-round appearances with a team that routinely overachieved.
Landing with the Sixers
Nurse was the hot name during this offseason’s robust coaching cycle, which included Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks), Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns) and Doc Rivers (Sixers). Nurse had his pick in each city, and eventually selected Philly over Phoenix and Milwaukee, which settled on former Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin. He reunited with Daryl Morey, who he worked for as part of the Houston Rockets franchise when he coached the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Nurse, who has battled with Joel Embiid, also has a chance to work with a big man he has terrorized in the postseason, knocking the Sixers out of the 2018 playoffs on the way to that title and serving up a fractured orbital bone in 2022.