PACERS NAME O’BRIEN HEAD COACH
The 55-year-old O’Brien becomes the Pacers’ 13th head coach in franchise history.
“We’re very happy to have Jim as the new coach of the Indiana Pacers,” said President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “After speaking with him the last 10 days, we have a vision of where we want this team to go, from how we are going to practice, to how we are going to play and the style we’re going to play. We are on the same page. I believe it is very important to have a coach with experience and I feel Jim is the guy who will take us to the next level.”
O’Brien, who previously has been the head coach of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, said, “I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to be the coach of the Indiana Pacers. The tradition of this franchise and the passion that this state has for the game of basketball has been well-documented. Since this job became available, it has been my dream to get in front of Larry and Donnie (Walsh) to talk about my strong interest in this job. I’ve been very fortunate to get in front of them and feel great about the outcome.
“I look forward to getting to work and being an integral part of the Pacers’ future.”
O’Brien spent four seasons as the Celtics’ head coach, compiling a 139-119 record (.539) with playoff appearances in 2002 and 2003, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002. After coaching the Celtics, O’Brien coached the Philadelphia 76ers for one season in 2004-05, compiling a 43-39 record and making the NBA Playoffs. He has sat out the last two seasons and recently has been writing a column for ESPN.com, The Insider.
O’Brien has been in the coaching profession since 1974-75, serving as an assistant coach at Wheeling Jesuit College, Pembroke State College, the University of Maryland, Saint Joseph’s University, the University of Oregon, the New York Knicks, the University of Kentucky and the Celtics. He has also been a head coach for Wheeling Jesuit and the University of Dayton.
O’Brien played collegiately at Saint Joseph’s University and is in that school’s Hall of Fame as well as the Big Five (Philadelphia) Hall of Fame. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Joseph’s in 1974 and received his MBA from the University of Maryland in 1981.
O’Brien is married to Sharon and they have three children.