SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Already selected by his peers as the Michael H. Goldberg National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year, Dwane Casey was tabbed the NBA Coach of the Year during the NBA Awards Show on Monday.
The former Kentucky men’s basketball player and assistant coach won the Red Auerbach Trophy after guiding the Toronto Raptors to the best record in the NBA Eastern Conference this past season.
Casey is the first former UK player or coach to win NBA Coach of the Year since Pat Riley, a three-time winner, last won in 1997.
Casey, now the lead man for the Detroit Pistons, was a member of the 1978 Kentucky national championship team. He lettered at UK from 1976-79, served as a graduate assistant in 1980 and an assistant coach during the 1987-89 seasons.
In his seventh season as head coach of the Toronto Raptors, Casey guided Toronto to a 59-23 record and the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Raptors fell to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, who went on to the NBA finals, in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Raptors’ franchise leader in career wins, Casey guided Toronto to four Atlantic Division titles in the last five seasons. This past season he became the first coach in franchise history to coach in the NBA All-Star Game.
Casey has enjoyed a long and successful professional coaching career since his time at Kentucky. He’s won more than 300 games with Toronto, led the Minnesota Timberwolves as head coach from 2006-07, served as an assistant for the Dallas Mavericks and Seattle SuperSonics, and has coached internationally.
Anthony Davis, who led Kentucky to the 2012 national championship, was a finalist for both the league’s Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards.