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Rick Carlisle introduced as Pacers head coach for 2nd time

Rick Carlisle served as head coach of the Pacers from 2003-2007 and was also an assistant in the 1990s.
Credit: Indiana Pacers via Zoom
Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle speaks with the media at an introductory press conference via Zoom on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — For the second time in Indiana Pacers franchise history, Rick Carlisle was officially introduced as the team's new head coach. 

Carlisle met with the media Wednesday afternoon via Zoom for a press conference. His first head coaching stint with the Pacers was from 2003-2007. He also served as an assistant coach under Larry Bird in the late 1990s.

Carlisle spent the last 13 years as the head coach in Dallas. He led the Mavericks to an NBA Championship in 2011. On June 17, Carlisle announced he was stepping down and that's when the Pacers made their move. The 61-year-old is replacing Nate Bjorkgren, who was fired after just one season at the helm in Indy.

"We identified some characteristics we felt were really important for this team and specifically this timeline for this team," said Pacers President Kevin Pritchard. "We're in 'win now.' We're trying to win. Those characteristics were multi-year experience and we really wanted someone with championship pedigree." 

Pritchard said the Pacers were planning on a big and wide search, but when Carlisle became available, the two parties mutually expressed interest and moved quickly. Carlisle said the most intriguing part of this job was the interest he received from team owner Herb Simon, general manager Chad Buchanon and Pritchard. 

"I really love the roster. This is my kind of team," Carlisle said. "As I've talked to all of these guys, I really have an even greater feeling that this is the kind of group of guys I'll have a blast working with." 

Carlisle said there will be an emphasis on getting better defensively and finding ways as a small market team to create as many edges as possible. He also expressed the importance of health after injuries riddled the roster the last few seasons.