NEW YORK, April 18, 2011 – Iowa Energy head coach Nick Nurse today was named the winner of the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award, as voted by his fellow NBA Development League head coaches.
“Nick’s passion and dedication played a huge role in making the Iowa Energy the NBA D-League’s best team this regular season,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “Not only did Iowa flourish as a team this year under Nick’s guidance, but the Energy also produced two players who ended the season on NBA rosters and the NBA D-League’s Most Valuable Player. Nick’s expertise and commitment to excellence have been invaluable to Iowa, and I congratulate him on this honor.”
In his fourth season with Iowa, Nurse guided the Energy to a league-best 37-13 record through the regular season, earning the top seed in the NBA D-League Playoffs, as well as an Eastern Conference title. In addition to coaching the East squad to victory in the NBA D-League All-Star Game in February, Nurse oversaw the development of point guard Curtis Stinson, a two-time All-NBA D-League First Team selection who today was named the NBA D-League’s MVP, guard Othyus Jeffers, who earned two GATORADE Call-Ups this season (San Antonio, Washington) and ended the year with the Washington Wizards, and rookie forward Marqus Blakely, who earned a GATORADE Call-Up to the Houston Rockets last week.
“Nick Nurse has been one of the primary reasons the Energy franchise has had such great success in such a short period of time,” said Iowa General Manager Chris Makris. “Whether it is winning three straight conference championships or the numerous GATORADE Call-Ups we have had, Nick has played a major role in everything that has happened here in Iowa. We are proud of his accomplishments, and feel fortunate to have had him as the only coach in our team’s history. Nick has a tremendous future and we thank him for what he has done for the Energy. He is extremely deserving of this award.”
The award is named in honor of the late Dennis Johnson, NBA Legend and former Austin Toros head coach who was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this past August. In his playing career, Johnson won three NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and Seattle SuperSonics, played in five NBA All-Star games and was named to the All-Defensive First Team six times. He served as interim head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2002, and was in his third season coaching in the NBA D-League when he passed away.