Carlisle canned: NBA Pacers oust Wahoo

After four years at the helm, the Indiana Pacers fired former UVA basketball standout Rick Carlisle after a four-year tenure as head coach. In a press conference yesterday, Carlisle and Pacers GM Larry Bird said the decision was a mutual one, after the team finished the 2006-07 season with a 35-47 record– the team's worst finish since 1999.

Despite compiling a record of 181-147 and making the playoffs three times, Carlisle's tenure in Indianapolis will most likely be remembered for having to manage unruly players. Namely, Carlisle was the coach during the November 19, 2004 brawl between his Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, which Pacers center Ron Artest escalated when he leaped into the stands and attacked Pistons fans after one of them threw his drink at him. The fight resulted in the suspension of five Pacers– Artest for the 86 remaining games of the season. Said Carlisle on the night of the incident, "I felt like I was fighting for my life out there."

Carlisle has until June 15 to decide if he wants to take the Pacers up on their offer to work in a management capacity. Asked yesterday who his successor might be, Carlisle mentioned, among others, fellow 'Hoo alum Marc Iavaroni, currently an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns who is the rumored front-runner for the Memphis Grizzlies' head coaching vacancy.