Seattle Sonics hire P.J. Carlesimo as new head coach
P.J. Carlesimo is the new coach of the Seattle Supersonics, Sonics General Manager Sam Presti announced today. Carlesimo was introduced at a news conference in Seattle. He gets right to work, immediately heading to Las Vegas where Sonics players and coaches are preparing for NBA Summer League play.
“I am excited to have P.J. as a part of our program,” Presti said. “His presence will continue to help build a culture of success both on and off the floor. The Sonics are getting a true teacher of the game, his background and defensive philosophy will further establish the identity for our basketball team.”
“We are thrilled to name P.J. Carlesimo as our new head coach,” said Sonics Chairman Clay Bennett. “He has deep experience in the college and pro game and will immediately instill a highly disciplined, defensive mentality with players that play intelligently and play together. We believe P.J. is absolutely the right person for the job and is more than ready for the challenge.”
Carlesimo served six seasons as an NBA head coach with the Portland Trail Blazers (1994-97) and the Golden State Warriors (1997-2000). Carlesimo joined the staff of the San Antonio Spurs in 2002 as lead assistant to Gregg Popovich. During his five years in San Antonio, the Spurs won three NBA titles. A graduate of Fordham University, Carlesimo coached at the college level for 23 years, including 12 as head coach at Seton Hall University, leading the Pirates to the 1989 national championship game. He was named the NCAA coach of the year in 1989 and named Seton Hall’s coach of the century. He has extensive international coaching experience as both assistant and head coach with USA Basketball, including serving as assistant coach for the 1992 gold medal winning “Dream Team.”
“I am really excited with the opportunity to come to the Sonics, and I especially look forward to working with Sam Presti to build a consistent winner,” Carlesimo said. “I am very impressed with the commitment of ownership to support a vision of long-term success. We have a talented young nucleus returning and an outstanding draft class.”