Childhood & Early Life
Rick Carlisle was born Richard Preston Carlisle, on October 27, 1959, into a middle-class family, in Ogdensburg, New York. Soon after he was born, the family moved to Lisbon, New York, where he spent the rest of his adolescent years.
Ever since he was a kid, he was a natural athlete and played various sports. Owing to his good height, he considered basketball to be the ideal sport for him. It led him to become part of the school basketball team at his school, the ‘Lisbon Central High School.’
He was then enrolled into a day-boarding school named ‘Worcester Academy.’ His fascination for playing basketball led him to join the ‘University of Maine,’ where he played with the college basketball team for 2 years, before he moved to the ‘University of Virginia.’ The latter had great infrastructure for basketball players.
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The ‘Virginia Cavaliers’ were one of the strongest teams in the nationwide college basketball scene. During the 1983 ‘NCAA’ tournament, they were the number-one team in the ‘West Zone’ and made their way to the elite eight. They were defeated by ‘North Carolina State,’ the team that eventually won the tournament.
During the ‘NCAA’ tournament the following year, Rick served as the co-captain of the team that reached the final four, where they were defeated by the ‘Houston Cougars.’ Despite his team’s average performance, Rick’s personal performance remained top-notch throughout the tournament, with him scoring an average of 12.5 points per game.
Following his college graduation in 1984, Rick was drafted by the ‘Boston Celtics’ as the 70th overall in the ‘NBA Draft.’ After he joined the team, they reached the finals of the ‘NBA Championship’ in 1985, 1986, and 1987, winning it in 1986. However, during those 3 years, Rick was mostly a reserve player. However, he performed whenever he got the chance.
Around the same time, in 1987, he also played briefly for the team ‘Albany Patroons’ of the ‘Continental Basketball Association.’ He also played with the ‘New Jersey Nets’ and the ‘New York Knicks’ for a short while during the late 1980s. Noticing that his playing career was practically reaching nowhere, he decided to retire from playing and became more inclined toward coaching.
In 1989, he began his coaching career as an assistant coach of the ‘New Jersey Nets.’ He assisted head coaches Bill Fitch and Chuck Daly for the next 5 years. Following his tenure, he worked as an assistant coach for the team ‘Portland Trail Blazers.’
In 1997, he began his stint as an assistant coach of the ‘NBA’ team ‘Indiana Pacers,’ under his former teammate Larry Bird. Under Larry and Rick, the team had two great seasons in 1997–1998 and 1999–2000. Bird stepped down in 2001, and it was speculated that Rick would be taking his place, but the team management decided to hire Isiah Thomas as the team’s new head coach.
In the 2001–2002 season, the position of the head coach of the team ‘Detroit Pistons’ became vacant. Thus, Rick earned his first stint as a head coach. For the next two seasons, he helped his team secure many important victories, such as ‘Central Division’ titles and playoff appearances in both the seasons. Following this remarkable performance, he was named the ‘NBA Coach of the Year’ in 2002.
However, Rick and the team management had their sets of issues that refused to die down. This situation ended with Rick getting fired from his position in 2003.
The same year, Rick was hired by his former team, the ‘Indiana Pacers,’ this time as their head coach. During his first season with the team, he led them to a victory in the ‘Central Division’ tournament and helped them achieve the best regular-season record of the ‘NBA’ (61–21). It was a franchise record in terms of the total wins. He also led his team to the ‘Eastern Conference’ finals.
However, he could not retain the good performances and had to eventually resign in 2007. By the end of his term, he still had a great record of leading his team to a 181–147 win–loss ratio.
For the next few months, he worked as a sports analyst for ‘ESPN,’ before getting hired as the head coach of the ‘Dallas Mavericks’ in 2008.
In his first season, he led his team to the ‘Western Conference’ semi-finals, where they eventually lost to the ‘Denver Nuggets.’ The remarkable performance continued well into 2010, as the team ended up winning 16 out of the 20 ‘Western Conference’ games that they played.
In November 2015, Rick was signed for 5 more years by the ‘Mavericks’ management. In December 2017, Rick celebrated his 700th victory as the head coach when his team defeated the ‘Los Angeles Clippers.’