August 3, 2011
Nate Bjorkgren Named Head Coach Of The Dakota Wizards
Former D-League Assistant Becomes Ninth Head Coach In Franchise History
The Golden State Warriors, owners and parent club affiliate of the Dakota Wizards, have named Nate Bjorkgren (BEE-ork-Gren) as head coach of team's NBA D-League franchise, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
Bjorkgren becomes the ninth head coach in Dakota franchise history and replaces Rory White, who led the Wizards to a 19-31 record in 2010-11.
Bjorkgren, 36, has spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach - under head coach Nick Nurse - with the NBA D-League’s Iowa Energy. During his tenure in Iowa, the Energy posted a combined 124-76 record (.620), highlighted by last season’s D-League Championship (2-1 over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers). The Energy posted an all-time D-League-best 37-13 record each of the last two seasons and captured three consecutive Eastern Conference titles during Bjorkgren’s final three campaigns in Iowa. During the 2009-10 campaign, the Energy led the D-League in (lowest) Defensive Field Goal Percentage and the team has annually ranked among the top rebounding squads in the league.
"We're really pleased with the selection of Nate as our head coach," said Warriors' Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Larry Riley. "We believe he is a quality young coach and the right individual to lead the Wizards and, most importantly, oversee the development of our team in Bismarck. The tremendous success he enjoyed in Iowa and his overall knowledge of the D-League will be an added benefit and certainly aid him in this transition. Our entire staff, including Mark Jackson, Bob Myers, Travis Schlenk, Kirk Lacob and myself, were impressed with his pedigree during the interview process and are confident he is the right fit."
Prior to joining the Energy in 2007-08, Bjorkgren began his coaching career at the high school level in Arizona, where he served as Head Coach of Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek for three seasons (2004-2007). Bjorkgren, a native of Storm Lake, Iowa, was named the Arizona State High School Coach of the Year following the 2005-06 season and earned Regional Coach of the Year honors in both 2005 and 2006. Cactus Shadows qualified for the Class 4A State Tournament each of his three seasons with the school.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity to lead the Wizards and provide the fans of Bismarck with a hard-working and exciting team," said Bjorkgren. "I have learned a lot during the last four years on the staff of the Iowa Energy and look forward to implementing my philosophy in this new position. Additionally, I was very impressed with the vision and goals of the Warriors' staff during our meetings and I'm eager to work closely with them as we move forward."
A graduate of Buena Vista University in 1998 with a degree in Exercise Science, Bjorkgren played collegiate basketball for both the Beavers and the University of South Dakota, where he began his college career in 1994.