Since joining the Toronto Raptors in the 2011-12 NBA season, dwane casey led the lone Canadian team into the playoffs in five of his seven seasons as their head coach. In fact, just this past year, Casey coached the Raptors to their most wins in franchise history with a 59-23 slate and good for the number one seed in the East.
That said, his failure to steer his team past the Conference Finals — and being swept most recently by the Cleveland Cavaliers — convinced general manager Masai Ujiri that change may be the best move for the franchise moving forward.
This, despite earning the Coach of the Year award and the pleadings of his players such as Kyle Lowry, C.J. Miles, and even DeMar DeRozan (who he had a falling out with) for him to stay.
In a heartfelt farewell, Casey sent a letter to the Toronto Star thanking fans for their support.
Thank you to basketball fans across this city and the country of Canada who supported the Raptors and welcomed my family with open arms during our seven years here. Thank you to all the fans who cheered us on at the Air Canada Centre while we built this program into a playoff contender, packed Jurassic Park even in the cold and rain, watched the games from home and offered their undying support as we traveled this road to relevancy together.
Thank you for teaching our all-American family the Canadian way. That being polite and considerate to one another is always the best way. That diversity is something to be embraced and celebrated. That taking the time to learn about each other’s cultures is the surest way to find common ground and understanding. Thank you for making our children feel safe, valued, and comfortable in their own skin. We cannot express how important it has been to build the foundations of who our children are as human beings in a country that shows through its words, actions and laws that all people deserve basic human rights, and a chance to reach their goals through education and hard work.