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P. J Carlesimo was by Pop’s side for five seasons

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The broadcasting fixture won three NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs.

San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich and Assistant Coach P.J. Carlesimo, 2005 NBA Playoffs SetNumber: X73590 TK1

Many young fans may not remember P.J. Carlesimo on the sidelines of the SBC Center. The hoarse-throated analyst has spent many of the past years calling games. And deservedly so, he has a breadth of knowledge.

As we continue our retracing of Pop’s coaching tree (started earlier this summer), we move more into the middle of the decade where the Spurs were their hottest.

Carlesimo has been coaching in some form or fashion since 1971 when he started his career as an assistant as Fordham, his alma mater. He went on to coach at New Hampshire College and Wagner before landing the head coaching spot at Seton Hall, where he had some of his greatest achievements.

During his twelve seasons with the Pirates, Carlesimo took Seton hall to the NCAA tournament six times. Considered the most successful coach in Seton Hall history, he was aptly named their “Coach of the Century.”

Carlesimo was named Big East Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1989 as well as being named the Regional Championship for the Final Four and NABC Coach of the Year, both in 1989.

In 1992, as an assistant, he earned an Olympic gold medal as part of the “Dream Team.”

P.J.’s first NBA coaching job was in Portland, where he took a rebuilding Trail Blazers team into the the playoffs his first season on the job. Portland made the playoffs in each of three seasons and were eliminated in the first round each time.

Carlesimo then moved to Golden State where he coached a little over two seasons. In his first season, he suffered an altercation with Latrell Sprewell in which the player choked him. His time in Oakland was marred by questionable coaching. After failing to get the Warriors to the playoffs during his first two season, he was fired just before the end of the century.

After a couple of years on The NBA on TNT, Carlesimo returned to coaching as an assistant to Gregg Popovich on the San Antonio Spurs. During his five seasons, the Silver & Black won three NBA Championships.

His success as a right-hand man led to his hiring by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007. He was the last coach in Seattle, and the first in Oklahoma City, but his time with the Thunder was short-lived as a 1-12 record derailed his season and got him fired.

He stayed away from the hardwood for a few years before taking a position as an assistant in Toronto. This led to an offer in New Jersey. As an assistant to Avery Johnson, he took over the head coaching spot after Johnson was fired.

Carlesimo continues to serve as an analyst and is seen throughout the season on various networks.

His greatest college achievements took place at Seton Hall. But his greatest NBA accolades come in conjunction with his time in San Antonio working with Gregg Popovich.


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