Bird Steps Down, Walsh Returns, Pritchard Named G.M
Indianapolis – June 27, 2012
The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday changes in the basketball front office. Larry Bird, President of Basketball Operations for the last nine years, will step down, former team President Donnie Walsh (Photo Gallery) returns as President of Basketball Operations, and Kevin Pritchard (Photo Gallery) will be the General Manager, replacing David Morway, who resigned Tuesday.
"I fully understand Larry’s decision to step away and can’t thank him enough for what he has done for the Pacers,” said Pacers Owner Herb Simon. "I can’t ask for a better transition at this time than to have Donnie back to work with Kevin in overseeing the basketball side."
"I’m going to take some time off and evaluate what I will do in the future,” said Bird. “This has nothing to do with any conflict or anything else, it’s just time. I considered leaving last year, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, I like the position this team is in and with Kevin and Donnie, the basketball side won’t miss a beat."
Walsh left the Pacers in 2008 to serve as President, Basketball Operations, for the New York Knicks for two years. He was a consultant with the Knicks last season. Walsh was the Pacers’ General Manager from 1986-88 before becoming the franchise president from 1988-2008.
"After discussing this with Herb and Larry, I’m very comfortable in coming back and doing whatever I can to help the Pacers continue their return to prominence in the NBA," said Walsh. 'This is home in so many ways and I couldn’t be more proud about coming back and being part of this great franchise again.'
Pritchard joined the Pacers prior to last season as Director of Player Personnel. The native Hoosier (born in Bloomington, Ind.) was Portland’s general manager from 2007-10 prior to joining the Pacers.
"This is a great opportunity," said Pritchard. "To be able to work with someone like Donnie Walsh, whose record with the Pacers and Knicks speaks for itself, and to continue to build on what Larry has done here is a great honor."
There will be no other management changes in Pacers Sports & Entertainment with Simon continuing as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Morris as President and Rick Fuson as Chief Operating Officer.