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Sunday, May 27, 2001
Carlisle named Pistons coach

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – By 1992, Joe Dumars and his "Bad Boys" teammates on the Detroit Pistons were two-time NBA champions and welcoming a new coach to replace Chuck Daly.

Rick Carlisle
Rick Carlisle, who won a ring with the Celtics in 1986 as a player, hopes to deliver a winning attitude to the Pistons.
Little did Dumars know that a decade later, he would be in front of a microphone welcoming the team's sixth coach since Daly exited.

Dumars, the team's president, on Friday announced the hiring of former Indiana Pacers assistant Rick Carlisle.

He replaces George Irvine, who was fired after the Pistons finished the season with a 32-50 record, the ninth-worst in the NBA.

"We have kind of promoted from within for the last few years, and there was somewhat of a carousel of coaches for a while," Dumars said. "It was time to get outside the organization and speak with the best basketball minds out there."

Although the team did not disclose contract terms, it has been reported Carlisle signed a three-year deal worth between $5 million and $6 million.

"I think this is a great opportunity for me. We have an excellent young nucleus in Jerry Stackhouse and Ben Wallace and I think the future of this organization is very promising," Carlisle said Friday at the Palace.

Rick Carlisle's experience as an assistant at Indiana was as close to being a head coach, without really being one, as a person could get. He had a tremendous amount of input under Larry Bird. Bird had no coaching experience, so he hired Dick Harter and Carlisle to basically run the team while he oversaw the process.

  • Dr. Jack's complete analysis
  • Dumars said he talked to about 15 NBA and college coaches about the job.

    "I wish I could mention all the people who wanted this job," Dumars said. "You would be shocked. Obviously, they see something here.

    "I learned a whole lot from a lot of different people, but at the end of the day, this guy right here, Rick Carlisle, stood out more than anyone else," Dumars said. "He's done everything possible to prepare himself to be the next coach of the Detroit Pistons."

    Since Daly coached the Pistons from 1984-92, Detroit has not had much stability on the bench. Dumars pointed out that the Los Angeles Lakers also have had six coaches in the last 10 years.

    "I guess they can get away with it," he said. "But you have to find someone who fits with your personnel."

    Carlisle will have room to bring in talent, with Detroit $16 million under the salary cap this summer.

    Carlisle said Dumars and Pistons owner Bill Davidson have committed to spending money to attract top talent.

    "This is a land of opportunity," Carlisle said. "If I was a free agent out there, I would look at the different situations I have. They really have the opportunity, A, to play minutes, B to get better, C, maybe make money."

    Carlisle was thought to be a top choice to succeed Larry Bird as head coach of the Pacers this past season, but Indiana went with former Pistons star Isiah Thomas.

    Carlisle said he was disappointed, but it gave him a chance to plan his next move.

    "It would have been easy to settle back into being an assistant, but I took a risk," Carlisle said. "I've always seen myself as a head coach."

    Carlisle, 41, worked as a radio analyst for the Seattle SuperSonics this season.

    Before joining Bird's staff, Carlisle was an assistant in Portland for three seasons and in New Jersey for five seasons.

    The Virginia graduate, a co-captain on the Cavaliers' 1984 Final Four team, was the only rookie to make the Boston Celtics' roster in 1984.

    Carlisle played in Boston for three years, helping the Celtics win the 1986 NBA title. He played with the New York Knicks for one season, coached by Rick Pitino, and was briefly with the Nets in 1989 before Bill Fitch hired him as an assistant. Carlisle also was an assistant under Daly in New Jersey.

    The other finalists for the Detroit job included Denver Nuggets assistant John Lucas, Orlando Magic assistant Johnny Davis and two former Pistons players, Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn, an Atlanta Hawks assistant.

    "He's a disciplinarian, and that's what this team needs right now," Pistons guard Michael Curry said of Carlisle. "We feel real good about him. Joe took his time to pick just the right guy, and we are confident he is going to do a great job."

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