Larry Bird also has a long history in Indiana playing for Indiana State, coaching the Pacers to a Championship and rebuilding a fallen Pacers team back to the playoffs as an executive. We can thank Bird for this new ERA of Pacers basketball. An ERA that Bird built and the one that Donnie Walsh will move forward. Fortunately for us Bird built a solid ground on which we can stand. Frank Vogel will be leading the Pacers comprised of Granger, Hibbert, Hill, George and West on to the court for the 2012-13 season.
How about the other coaches for the Pacers in that same 12 to 15 year period? Many people forget the Pacers had the great Isiah Thomas coach the Pacers for a few brief years after the championship run – and with great success. Unfortunately his tenor was smeared by the infamous brawl in the Palace. Rick Carlisle was asked to step in and steer the ship straight but it had veered to far off course. Carlisle led the Pacers to a few winning seasons but the Pacers continued to sink with poor leadership, questionable characters and poor teamwork.
Carlisle was put in a bad situation and it cost him his job in Indy to J.O.B. who took over the Pacers in 2007. It was about this time that Bird was cleaning house, bringing in new, young talent and the Pacers looked ready to make a comeback. Each season passed and the Pacers could only collect 30 to 35 wins and soon the scape goat was no longer Carlisle but O’Brien. The difference in the firing was that Carlisle was trying to hold a broken mirror together on the wall without letting one piece fall – seemingly impossible. O’Brien was given a new mirror in which he chose not to hang it up. Lucky for the Pacers O’Brien was fired by Bird and Vogel took over in the middle of the 2010-11 season.
The irony of it all is that Rick Carlisle led the Dallas Mavericks to a championship in the time period that Jim O’Brien was sitting Roy Hibbert. Now Jim O’Brien has been hired by the Dallas Mavericks to be an assistant coach to none other than Rick Carlisle. The man who was hired to turn the Pacers around but never could seem to breathe life into the Pacers is now an assistant to Rick Carlisle –the man he replaced just a few years ago.
The Marris Mintue