Beaver Helps Toronto Claim NBA title

Bjorkgren is an assistant coach for the NBA champion Toronto Raptors, working under rookie head coach Nick Nurse. The Storm Lake native made basketball his career as he entered the coaching ranks not long after helping BVU secure a conference men’s basketball title.

Bjorkgren with championship trophy
Nate Bjorkgren

Nate Bjorkgren ’98 realized a lifelong dream in June when his team, the Toronto Raptors, won the NBA title. The Storm Lake native made basketball his career as he entered the coaching ranks not long after helping BVU secure its first conference men’s basketball title in 21 years during the 1997 season.

Bjorkgren is an assistant coach at Toronto, working under rookie head coach Nick Nurse, a native of Carroll. The two men met at the University of South Dakota in the mid-1990s as Bjorkgren landed a spot on the USD roster as a walk-on before transferring to BVU to end his collegiate playing career.

“Throughout all of my stay at BVU, I had great experiences,” he says. “I always expected to win, and BVU brought out that mentality even more.”

Bjorkgren, who joined his wife, Heidi, and their two children, Kaylee and Jarrett, in a Toronto victory parade witnessed by an estimated 1.5 million people, says he’s thankful to be in this position. 

“I’m so grateful to Coach Nurse, the Raptors organization, our fans, coaches, and, of course, our players,” he says. “The NBA playoffs are such a tough two-month stretch. But you could see it happening; our players just kept getting better and better. They were relentless and resilient.”

For more about Nate Bjorkgren’s career path and his reflections, see the July issue of BV Today.
 

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