The Indiana Pacers are bringing back Rick Carlisle to be the team's head coach after 14 years of being apart. Carlisle, who stepped away from his coaching position with the Dallas Mavericks on June 17, was the Pacers' head coach from 2003 to 2007.
Carlisle originally joined the organization in 1997 as an assistant coach under Larry Bird. He left in 2000 for his first head coaching job with the Detroit Pistons.
After two years with the Pistons, Carlisle returned to the Pacers as the team's head coach after Isiah Thomas was fired and Bird was brought back as the President of Basketball Operations.
In his first season, Carlisle led the Pacers to the Central Division title and the NBA's best regular-season record at 61-21.
The team set a franchise record for wins and reached the Eastern Conference Finals after defeating both the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat in the playoffs. The Pacers eventually lost to the Detroit Pistons
Carlisle coached the East All-Stars in his first season as the Pacers' head coach.
The following season, Carlisle's team suffered numerous injuries and suspensions that were given as a result of the brawl between the Pacers and the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Despite the setbacks, Carlisle rallied the Pacers to the NBA playoffs for the second straight season, earning the sixth seed. They were defeated by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
Carlisle's first two years at the helm in Indiana were followed by two lackluster seasons. In his third season, the Pacers earned a .500 record and barely made the playoffs, only to be defeated in the first round once again.
After the postseason defeat, Carlisle was not held responsible, and he signed a multi-year contract extension. He also earned the title of executive vice president of basketball operations.
In Carlisle's last year with the team, the 2006-07 season, the Pacers fell to a 35-47 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1997. He was fired as the team's head coach and decided not to remain in the front office.
In four seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Carlisle compiled a 181-147 record. He worked as a studio analyst for ESPN before returning to a coaching position with the Dallas Mavericks.
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