Raptors Announce 2021-22 Coaching Staff

by Soheil Jamshidi

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday that Trevor Gleeson, Nathaniel Mitchell and Earl Watson have been added to Head Coach Nick Nurse’s staff as assistant coaches. Eric Khoury will return to the team as an assistant coach after two seasons with Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate.

Lead assistant Adrian Griffin will return to the Toronto bench for a fourth season, along with assistant coaches John Corbacio, Jon Goodwillie, Jim Sann, and player development consultant Jamaal Magloire.

Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

“This staff brings different coaching backgrounds to our team, and I think that’s really important. There’s a diversity of thought, there’s a bunch of varying opinions, and that leads to creativity on the court and off,” Nurse said. “I think that’s going to serve the Raptors really well and we’re looking forward to getting out on the court together with our team.”

Gleeson joins the Raptors following eight successful seasons (2013-21) as head coach of the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) where he accumulated a record of 171-98 (.636). Gleeson captured five NBL championships with the Wildcats (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020) and was named the NBL 2021 Coach of the Year.

A native of Warrnambool, Victoria, Gleeson received his first coaching opportunity in the NBL as a development coach with the Brisbane Bullets (1997-2000). He had coaching stints in the Continental Basketball Association (2000-04) and South Korea (2004-06) before returning to Australia with the Townsville Crocodiles (2006-11) and Melbourne Tigers (2011-12). Gleeson led the Crocodiles to consecutive semi-final appearances and for his efforts was named the 2011 NBL Coach of the Year.

On the international stage, Gleeson has served as an assistant with the Australia Boomers (2014-16) and was part of the 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics.

Mitchell spent the last three seasons (2018-21) as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets. Prior to joining the Hornets, he was an assistant in the NBA G League with Raptors 905 (2015-18) and the Maine Red Claws (2014-15). Mitchell began his coaching career as graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team at Fresno State (2013-14). A native of Toronto, Mitchell has been part of Canada’s senior men’s national team staff since 2016.

Watson enjoyed a 13-year (2001-2014) NBA playing career with Seattle/Oklahoma City, Memphis, Denver, Indiana, Utah and Portland. He was chosen 40th overall by the SuperSonics in the 2001 NBA Draft.

A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Watson began his coaching career as an assistant with the Austin Spurs (2014-15) in the NBA G League. He served as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns the following season before being named interim head coach midway through the 2016-17 campaign. The Suns retained Watson as their head coach at the end of the year where he led Phoenix for parts of three seasons before being relieved of his duties early into the 2017-18 season.

Watson graduated from UCLA in 2019 with a degree in history, and was named Alumni of the Year by the UCLA Latino Alumni Association. He founded the Earl Watson Elite AAU program – now West Coast Elite – and co-founded the Earl Watson Early Childhood Centre in his hometown of Kansas City. He worked as a broadcaster with NBA TV and the Pac-12 Networks from 2017 to 2021.

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