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.
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
"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, who won a ring with the Celtics in 1986 as a player, hopes to deliver a winning attitude to the Pistons.|
Dumars said he talked to about 15 NBA and college coaches about
"I wish I could mention all the people who wanted this job,"
Dumars said. "You would be shocked. Obviously, they see something
"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
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
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
"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."
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.
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