The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have named Dwane Casey as the club’s new head coach. Casey becomes Toronto’s eighth head coach joining the Raptors from the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. Per team policy, financial terms were not announced. Casey’s contract runs through the 2013-14 season.
“After a lengthy and detailed search for our new head coach, it became very clear that Dwane Casey embodies every aspect of what we defined as an ideal candidate,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. “Dwane’s 16-plus years in NBA coaching circles working with some tremendous basketball mentors coupled with his proven ability as a defensive architect will serve as a great backdrop for the future approach of this team.”
Casey, 54, has served as a head coach, associate head coach and assistant coach in the NBA 16 of the past 17 years. Twelve of his teams have finished in the top half of the league in fewest average points allowed and 10 have been in the league’s top 15 in lowest opponent field goal percentage. He has coached in two NBA Finals (1996 and 2011) and two NBA All-Star Games (1996 and 1998).
“I am grateful to Bryan Colangelo for this opportunity and excited to come to the Raptors to work with this young team,” said Casey. “My number one goal is to create a defensive identity and an atmosphere of hard play. It is very, very important in the NBA to establish that culture of hard work.”
Casey has been an assistant with the Mavericks for the past three seasons, helping lead Dallas to a 162-84 (.659) mark. The Mavericks won 50 or more games in each of his three seasons with the team. Casey was in charge of a defensive unit that held its opponents to 96.0 points per game (sixth in the NBA) and.450 per cent shooting from the field (eighth in the NBA) this past season.
In the 2011 postseason, Casey’s defense posted series victories over offensive powers the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Dallas held its playoff opponents to 92.5 points per game and .447 per cent shooting from the floor.
Casey was named head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves on June 17, 2005. He posted a 53-69 mark (.434) in two seasons. He had the club in playoff contention with a 20-20 record when he was replaced January 25, 2007. His 2005-06 squad finished in the Top 10 in fewest average points per game and lowest opponent field goal percentage.
In 2008, Casey traveled throughout Europe, attending Euroleague games and practices while studying various basketball concepts.
Casey began his NBA coaching career in 1994 as an assistant with the Seattle Supersonics. He spent 11 seasons with the Sonics where he served under longtime NBA head coaches George Karl, Paul Westphal and Nate McMillan. He was promoted to associate head coach in November 2000. Nine of his teams in Seattle finished above .500 with five winning 50 or more games.
In 14 seasons as an NBA assistant, Casey’s teams have recorded a 689-427 record (.617) with eight campaigns of 50 or more wins.
Prior to joining the Sonics, Casey spent five years as a head coach in Japan. He also coached Japan’s National Team with basketball legend Pete Newell. In the summer of 1998, Casey coached the team to its first World Championship appearance in 31 years.
From 1985-90 Casey was an assistant under legendary collegiate coach Eddie Sutton at the University of Kentucky. He also served as an assistant under Clem Haskins at Western Kentucky University from 1980-85.
Casey began his coaching career at Kentucky in 1979 as a graduate assistant under Joe B. Hall. While at UK, he recruited and coached eventual NBA players Winston Bennett, Sam Bowie, Rex Chapman, LeRon Ellis, Shawn Kemp, Chris Mills, Dirk Minnifield, Irving Thomas and Melvin Turpin.
Casey played collegiately at Kentucky and helped the Wildcats register a 30-2 record in his junior season and capture the 1978 NCAA Championship. A four-year letterman, Casey was named team captain his senior year and won Kentucky’s all-academic award.
A native of Morganfield, Kentucky, Casey earned a degree in business administration from Kentucky in 1979.