College - Fordham
P.J. Carlesimo brings 35 years of coaching experience to his first season on the Raptors bench, including 13 seasons in the NBA. He is also a veteran of international and college ball.
This will be the second time that Raptors head coach Jay Triano and Carlesimo have worked together. Carlesimo was the head coach and Triano his assistant of the USA Basketball Select Team in 2007 and 2008. Carlesimo spent five seasons (2002-2007) as Gregg Popovich’s lead assistant with the San Antonio Spurs where they captured three NBA titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007. He also served as the head coach in Portland (1994-97), Golden State (1996-2000) and Seattle/Oklahoma City (2007-09).
Carlesimo began his coaching career as an assistant at Fordham University in 1971, before being named head coach at New Hampshire College for one season (1975-76). He then spent six seasons (1976-82) as the head coach at Wagner College, and led the Seahawks to their first NIT appearance. In 1982, Carlesimo was named head coach at Seton Hall University, a position he held for 12 years. In 1987-88, he guided Seton Hall into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. His teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament in six of his final seven years. He was named NCAA Coach of the Year in 1989 after registering a 31-7 mark, and advancing to the NCAA Championship Game. In addition, he was named Big East Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989.
Carlesimo made the transition to the NBA in the summer of 1994, when he was named head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. He compiled a 137-109 (.557) record over three seasons and led the Blazers to three straight playoff appearances. Posting a winning season in his first year in the NBA coming from the collegiate ranks made him the first coach to accomplish that feat in 25 years. His 1996-97 team posted the lowest field goal percentage allowed (.436) in team history to that point, and recorded an 11-game winning streak (third longest in Blazers’ history). Each of Carlesimo’s three Portland squads finished in the top three in league rebounding totals. All three teams held opponents scoring totals to under 100 points, with each season lower than the previous year. The 1994-95 Blazers allowed 99.2 points, followed by 97.0 points and a then Blazers record 94.8 points in 1996-97.
In June of 1997, Carlesimo was hired as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, a position he held until December of 1999. The Warriors led the league in rebounding each of his first two seasons in Golden State. In addition, the 1998-99 Warriors set franchise records in field goal percentage defense (.420) and lowest points allowed (90.8).
In seven NBA seasons, Carlesimo has an overall NBA record of 203-284 (.417).
Carlesimo served as an assistant coach for USA Basketball for the gold-medal winning team at the 1992 Olympic Games, the 1990 World Championships, the 1990 Goodwill Games and the 1988 Olympic Trials. In addition, Carlesimo was the head coach of three other U.S. Teams, including the 1991 World University Games squad, winners of the gold medal, and at the Olympic Festival in Norman and Oklahoma City in 1989.
Between coaching stints, Carlesimo has been a broadcaster for NBC Sports, Turner Sports and Spurs Television.
A native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Carlesimo graduated from Fordham University in 1971. He was a member of the school’s 26-3 basketball team in 1970-71, a team that set the mark for the most wins in school history and was Fordham’s first NCAA Tournament Team.
Carlesimo has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame (1992 USAB Dream Team), Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, the Wagner Hall of Fame and the Seton Hall Athletic Hall of Fame. His father, the late Pete Carlesimo, was the long-time executive director of the NIT. He and his wife Carolyn have two sons, Kyle and Casey.