TORONTO (Reuters) - The struggling Toronto Raptors named former Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey as their new head coach, the NBA team said on Tuesday.
Casey, who won an NBA title earlier this month with Dallas under head coach Rick Carlisle, replaced Canadian Jay Triano, who was moved into a consultancy role after he failed to reach the playoffs in his three seasons in charge.
“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,” Raptors President Bryan Colangelo said.
“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.”
The 54-year-old Casey signed a three year-deal, taking over a Raptors team that has not made the playoffs since 2008 and finished the 2010-11 NBA season with the third-worst record in the league.
Casey began his NBA coaching career in 1994 as an assistant with the Seattle SuperSonics franchise that has since relocated to Oklahoma City.
After 11 seasons in Seattle, Casey was named head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2005 where he went on to compile a 53-69 record in a season and a half in charge.
Casey earned a 33-49 record during his first season with Minnesota and was relieved of his duties midway through the 2006-07 season after compiling a 20-20 record.
“One thing that I do plan to do here in this upcoming season is help this team develop an NBA defensive identity,” Casey told a news conference.
“I think that’s the number one goal, the number one thought process with me going in.”
(Writing by Frank Pingue and Julian Linden)