The Indiana Pacers recently fired Head Coach Jim O’Brien. In his fourth year as the coach, the Pacers were 17-27 and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. You can read Indiana’s press release here. O’Brien’s last game was in the city of Chicago, as his Pacers looked to build on a one-game winning streak after defeating the New Jersey Nets in Indianapolis. Before the win at Conseco Fieldhouse, the Pacers were on a six game losing streak.
While Indiana kept it close throughout three quarters, it was the Bulls who would come away with a 110-89 win.
There was a lot of flack by the fans on the Pacers message boards about benching Josh McRoberts when he was having a career night in Chicago. We’re not talking a benching that lasted a few minutes, we’re talking about a benching that lasted almost all of the fourth quarter. There’s also been an uproar by the fans to can O’Brien since the longest time. One of the things people couldn’t stand about his coaching style was the inconsistent rotations and minutes played. There were also complaints that his system just didn’t work, at least with the talent he had at Indiana.
Jim O’Brien walks away from Indiana with a 121-169 record. He stands at a 303-327 clip all time as a coach in the NBA.
While this might appear to be a post only relevant to the Pacers fans, there is actually a local tie to the Miami Valley in this story. Jim O’Brien was the head coach at the University of Dayton from 1989 until 1994. It would be his second job as a head coach in the college ranks, his first being with Wheeling Jesuit and going 74-69 with the Cardinals. While O’Brien saw success in his first year with the Flyers, going 22-10 and defeating Illinois in the Big Dance, his next few years were not so good. His last two years saw a mere ten victories out of forty-seven games. According to this article published by the Dayton Daily News about a year ago, he doesn’t follow the Flyers after being let go by then-AD Ted Kissell.
UD Pride has a topic about Jim O’Brien in their message boards (read here). A post mentions how O’Brien said his firing at UD was a mistake, although he went 10-47 in his last two years.
I first saw this happening from Indy Cornrows on Twitter, saying Jim O’Brien is done. The topic exploded on Twitter shortly after that. The Pacers then called a 4:00 press conference to announce the new head coach, which is now Frank Vogel who was an assistant with O’Brien this season.
There is an article here explaining why some fans were too harsh on O’Brien. There is also a few more problems that people saw this season. To counter that article, there was an article published on January 16th of this year from Pacers Gab asking some readers of the Indianapolis Star why they wanted O’Brien gone.
While O’Brien might be a good guy in the public eye, he did not fare well as the head coach of the Pacers, failing to get near the .500 mark for three overall seasons. He continued the playoff-less streak since Rick Carlisle’s last season in Indiana.
Will Jim O’Brien pick up another head coaching gig? Only time will tell. Will the Pacers make the playoffs, like Larry Bird planned, with Vogel as the interim coach? There’s still plenty of season to play.
Sources of information from the Dayton Daily News, Indy Cornrows, UD Pride, Pacers Gab, and the homepage of the Indiana Pacers.
Until next time,