• AFP-JIJI

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The Indiana Pacers have reached a deal to bring back Rick Carlisle for a second stint as head coach, announcing the agreement on Tuesday.

Carlisle, 61, guided the Pacers to a 181-147 record over four seasons from 2003 to 2007. In the 2003 to 2004 campaign, he guided the Pacers to a club-record 61 wins and reached the Eastern Conference finals.

He also served as an assistant coach under NBA legend Larry Bird from 1997 to 2000, a run capped with the team’s only NBA Finals appearance, a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Rick is a proven winner with a championship and will be a Hall of Fame coach,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.

“He has demonstrated throughout his career an ability to build something with sustainable success. He has great respect for our franchise and our fans from his previous times here. We are very happy to welcome him back to Indiana.”

Over 19 seasons as an NBA head coach, including stays with the Detroit Pistons from 2001 to 2003 and the Dallas Mavericks from 2008 until stepping down a week ago, Carlisle has compiled a record of 836-689.

Carlisle, ranked 15th in coaching wins in NBA history, was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2002 and guided the Mavericks to their first NBA title in 2011.

“My sincere thanks to Herb Simon, Kevin Pritchard and the entire Pacers organization for the opportunity to come back to basketball’s heartland,” Carlisle said.

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