UNI Standout Nick Nurse to Coach Iowa D-League Team

D-League Des Moines Team Announces All-Iowa Coaching Staff

  • D-League Q&A with Nick Nurse

    DES MOINES, Iowa, March 27, 2007 — Iowa Basketball, LLC, announced today an all-Iowa coaching staff for its new NBA Development League Team. Former University of Northern Iowa player Nick Nurse has been named as the new Iowa team’s first head coach. The team’s coaching staff includes a second well-known name in Iowa basketball, former Drake coach Gary Garner.

    “Nick Nurse and Gary Garner bring passion, leadership and excitement to the game of basketball in Iowa,” said Gary Kirke, an investor in the expansion team. “We are fortunate to have coaches with their national and international reputations and experience who want to be part of bringing NBA-sponsored professional basketball to Iowa.”

    Nick Nurse
    Nurse, 39, returns to Iowa after a successful stint as a head coach in the British Basketball League, where his team, the Brighton Bears, won the league championship in 2004 and the National Cup in 2003 and 2005. Nurse was named Coach of the Year twice in 2000 and 2004. In his 12 years with the BBL, Nurse accumulated a 343/153 winning record. He also was assistant coach of the USBL’s Oklahoma Storm during the 2001 and 2005 seasons.

    “I am thrilled to be back in Iowa with the NBA Development League,” said Nurse. “This is home, but more than that, this is the right time for professional basketball in Iowa. Wells Fargo Arena is a great place to play ball, and the support is already mounting for this team. It’s an honor to be selected to be a part of sports history in my home state.”

    Prior to his move to the BBL, Nurse was an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks Summer League Team during the 2000 season.

    Garner joins Nurse as assistant coach of the NBA pro team. He was the third winningest coach in Drake history during his seven seasons as head coach from 1981-1988. His 1986 Drake team advanced to the NIT tournament. While coaching at Drake, he was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1982 and was runner-up for the same honor in 1986.

    Over a period of two seasons from 1995 to 1997 his Fort Hays State University team had a winning streak of 49 games, the fourth longest in the history of college basketball. After the 1996-97 season, Garner was named Basketball Times NCAA Division II Coach of the Year and in 1996 was named “Coach of the Year” by the Sears/National Association of Basketball Coaches. Garner then moved on to Southeast Missouri State University, where he the 2000 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year.

    “These two basketball names are going to be able to recruit and develop great talent for this team,” said Paul Drey, an investor in the team. “Their names carry a lot of weight in Iowa and this announcement is going to create excitement for the team.”

    Iowa NBA D-League expansion team was announced on February 27 at Wells Fargo Arena.

    Nick Nurse – Career Highlights

  • Coach of the Year, 200 and 2004
  • Six All-Star Nominations
  • 12 Coach of the Month Awards
  • League Champion, 2004
  • National Cup Winner, 2003 · Southern Conference Champion, 2001
  • Northern Conference Champion, 2000
  • Play-Off Champion, 2000
  • Trophy Champion, 1999
  • Play-Off Champion, 1996
  • 1985 Des Moines Register Male Athlete of the Year
  • Winner of the Chicago Triathlon, Age 25-29 Division (1996)
  • Completed London Triathlon (2005)
  • Completed Prague Marathon (2001)
  • Two-time MVP, UNI
  • UNI Men’s Basketball Team Captain
  • Played on Class 3-A High School State Championship team
  • Named to All-State high school basketball team

    Gary Garner – Career Highlights

  • 340 collegiate basketball wins
  • Ohio Valley Conference tournament crown 2000
  • Went to the NCAA Tournament in 2000
  • Coached Fort Hays State to its first NCAA Division II national championship in 1996
  • Perfect 34-0 record for Fort Hays in 1995-1996
  • 1995-1997 winningest collegiate coach with 63-2
  • 49 straight wins for fourth longest run in college basketball history
  • Four consecutive NCAA II tournament appearances with Fort Hays
  • 1997 NCAA II Coach of the Year by Basketball Times
  • Sears/National Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year in 1996
  • Third winningest coach in Drake history
  • Took Drake team to the 1986 NIT tournament
  • 1982 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year