Blog Entry

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

Posted on: January 30, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2011 2:36 pm
The Indiana Pacers have reportedly fired coach Jim O'Brien. Posted by Ben Golliver. jim-obrien

A little more than a week ago, we noted some rumblings that changes were in store for the Indiana Pacers, as coach Jim O'Brien and GM David Morway were likely going to be replaced at the end of the season, with President Larry Bird's future up in the air as well.

O'Brien was said to be safe through the rest of the season, as no one on his staff was seen as head coach material. On Sunday, though, that story changed in a big way: Yahoo! Sports reports that the Pacers have fired O'Brien.'s Ken Berger has confirmed the decision, citing multiple sources.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Pacers assistant Frank Vogel is "expected to coach the team for the remainder of the season." According to his bio, Vogel is just 37-years-old and in his eighth season as an assistant coach. Once tabbed, Vogel will surpass New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams as the youngest head coach in the NBA.

Berger reports that "a person with knowledge of the team's plans confirmed to that Vogel was the likely choice to take over for O'Brien on an interim basis. Also under discussion internally, according to the source, was team president Larry Bird coming down to the bench for the rest of the season. If the choice is Vogel, as expected, it is an indication that Bird didn't want to coach."

Yahoo! Sports names former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown and Utah Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin as two possible candidates to replace O'Brien on a "long-term basis."

Pacers fans had been frustrated with O'Brien and the team's progress for some time. The decision to fire O'Brien now rather than wait until the end of the season likely boils down to two factors: expectations and rotations. 

The Pacers got off to a 9-7 start, and have enough talent on the roster to be a lower-level playoff team in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. But the Pacers are currently 17-37 on the season, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference, could lead to the thinking that the season is at a crossroads. Salvaging a playoff seed out of this season would be huge, but perhaps O'Brien wasn't seen as someone able to reach the players and right the ship. 

The other regular criticism of O'Brien has been his inconsistent rotations. Coaches of losing teams get that a lot, as they juggle the pieces looking for something that will work. The problem: O'Brien didn't have a solid argument to hang his hat on. Star forward Danny Granger has seen his numbers regress from last year, center Roy Hibbert started strong but then tailed off in a big way, point guard Darren Collison often struggled with his efficiency, and none of the other periphery parts have developed into anything substantial.

The firing comes one day after the Pacers lost to the Chicago Bulls, 110-89, on Saturday night. notes that O'Brien was ejected from last night's game.

O'Brien was hired by Indiana before the 2007-2008 NBA season. His record with the team was 121-169, and he never won more than 36 games in a season. His career coaching record stands at 303-327.

Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:35 am

Frank Vogel is a Winner

Ever since he was with Kentucky and Pitino, and then the Celtics, Sixers and now the Pacers he has consistently moved up - FAST.  He is young and will change the culture there in Indiana.  The harder teams work the luckier they get.

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:08 am

Good riddance, Jim O'Brien

Perhaps Jim O'Brien and Larry Brown can start an I Hate Young Players club.  What Brown did to Darko in Detroit was a travesty.  The Pistons invest the second over all pick on Darko and Brown has him sitting the bench for three straight seasons.  No wonder the kid didn't develop like he should have.  At the time of the draft, there was talk by the so calleded "experts" in the media that Darko was better than "Dung Boy" James and perhaps should be picked #1 overall.  This is why you can't trust sports writers and their opinions. 

Since: Jan 30, 2011
Posted on: January 31, 2011 9:01 am

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

O'Brien's rotations have been nothing short of ridiculous! Hibbert's downward slide is due to this. Also, his  indecision on the 4 spot has been painful to watch. How do you sit Josh McRoberts after his 3rd Qtr against the Bulls?

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:57 am

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

Coltfan501....rumor has it that Larry Bird is stepping down at the end of the season..but you may be sorry what you wish for,time will tell...Bird was dealt a bad hand from the begining and had some bad characters as was evident in Detroit,....Birds boss (Walsh) jumped ship and went to the Knicks and leaft him with a mess to clean up.Since he has cleaned house and at least the Pacers seem to be good people if not a good team without all the trouble Artest and his posse brought to the team

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:48 am

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

Awesome!  My fantasy team might be salvaged.  The autodraft gave me both granger and hibbert and they've been sinking the ship the past few weeks.  Cause we all know that my fantasy team is the only one that matter, at best the Pacers are headed to a first-round execution.

Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2011 11:24 pm

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

O'Brien was a horrible choice to begin with. Larry Bird has all but ran this franchise into the ground. He should go along with everyone in the day to day operation of the team. Larry was a helluva player but his track record as a GM is horrible. When Donnie {Walsh} left to go to the Knicks I knew Indiana was introuble. O'Briend was/is the fall guy for Larry Legend's mistakes.

Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2011 10:42 pm

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

As many fans have already posted here, the firing of O'Brien alone will not turn this ship completely around, but it most definately sets the wheel in motion.  At this point, the team, city, and state needs a culture/attitude change as it concerns its professional basketball.  The culture, ever since the letting go of Rick Carlisle, has been one of uncertainty.  And as some fans have stated here, also, I think Mr. Bird should relinquish his role as team president.  The Pacers went to the Conference Finals in all three of his years as head coach (including the organization's only Finals appearance), so I am actually optimistic about the prospect of him returning to the coaching bench.  Having said that, if the article is on point and he in fact doesn't want to coach, the organization obviously has to look else where.  The organiza
tion shouldn't "settle" when it comes to O'Brien's replacement, and it should take the time and critical analysis to find the RIGHT fit (the players and fans deserve that much).  Having said that, it finally feels like "the next day," albeit five years later...but I'll take it. 

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:45 pm

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

Maybe they need to consider Mark Jackson as their next coach or even Sam Cassell. Whatever the Pacers do, I will drop dead if they decide to rehire Isiah Thomas again, lol. I know I know, that is not even funny.

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:19 pm

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

You are all right, Isiah Thomas and Larry Bird have gangbanged this team into basketball hell.  Bad move, after PR disaster, after bad draft..this organization has it's work cut outo before they can be competitive again.  Why did they hire this guy?  Anyone who watching basketball knew what a mess he stirred up in Philadelphia.

It's ashame because the Pacers were once a great team in a great basketball city.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:55 pm

Indiana Pacers fire coach Jim O'Brien

Different one.  This one's Jack Ramsey's son in law.  He's also a terrible basketball coach.

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