The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

November 7, 2013

Bird's dedication to Pacers historic

When it comes to Larry Bird, there’s one franchise with which he’ll always be indelibly associated.

Bird will live on in eternal Boston Celtic green. He will forever be a symbol of a NBA that exploded in popularity in the 1980s partly because of his considerable exploits.

But as iconic as Bird is as a Celtic, one could make an argument for similar iconic status with the Indiana Pacers.

Bird, of course, never played a game for the Pacers, but first as head coach and then as general manager and team president, Bird is an integral part of the Pacers’ most successful NBA eras.

Bird has had a direct hand in five of the Pacers’ seven conference finals appearances. The Pacers made their only NBA Finals appearance to date in 2000 — Bird’s final season as head coach.

Bird has helped the Pacers revive themselves into an elite playoff team three times. He did it in his first season as team president in 2004, and he rebuilt the Pacers, who were a NBA lottery team from 2007 to 2010, into an Eastern Conference Finals team in 2013.

But Bird did it the first time as head coach. Back in 1997, Bird had never been a head coach at any level. He quickly proved he was up to the task.

1997: Bird comes to Pacers

To understand what Bird did, one has to understand where the Pacers’ franchise was in 1997 when he was hired.

Starting in 1987, when Reggie Miller was famously taken ahead of Steve Alford in the first round of the NBA Draft — a move that irritated the many Pacers fans who were also Indiana University basketball fans — the Pacers had been building themselves into a contender under general manager Donnie Walsh.

When Walsh hired longtime friend and associate Larry Brown as the team’s coach in 1993, he helped the young Pacers make the final step. As a No. 5 seed, the Pacers made a surprising run to the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals and narrowly lost in seven games to the New York Knicks. In 1995, the Pacers were one of the East’s elite teams, qualifying again for the Eastern Conference Finals, with another heart-breaking seven-game loss to Orlando. But starting in 1996, there were cracks in the armor. The Pacers won 52 games, same as the year before, but were a No. 4 seed in the playoffs, and lost in five games in a first round series to Atlanta, a series in which Miller was hampered by injury.

1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - HB0419 - Muller final - 077 Arabians make history in Muller thriller Pendleton Heights beat Anderson 3-2 to become the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament's first repeat champion.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lady Ravens refusing to lose

    The Anderson University softball team swept Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Transylvania University on Saturday at Raven Field to finish a perfect 8-0 at home this season.

    April 19, 2014

  • Arabians win third straight County softball title It was a scenario Pendleton Heights had seen before. The game was scoreless late into the championship game of the Madison County softball tournament.

    April 19, 2014

  • Bulldogs rally past Eagles at Muller Kallen Brooks went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, including a walk-off double in the eighth inning, and Lapel rallied to defeat rival Frankton 3-2 on Saturday at Memorial Field.

    April 19, 2014

  • Eagles stop Lions to claim third place Frankton's Tia Sharp drove in three runs including the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth as the Eagles defeated Liberty Christian 11-1 here Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • PH pushes across only run in 7th

    After Frankton's Kyleigh Garner and Pendleton Heights' Bailey Benefiel battled one another to a standstill from the pitcher's circle for six innings, it took one mistake in the seventh to decide the outcome.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT - HB0419 - County track - 116 Arabians sweep track titles again Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the competitors at the Madison County track meet Friday at Madison-Grant. The Pendleton Heights boys and girls teams were looking to take the county for the third year in a row, but Anderson and Lapel had other ideas. It started off as a record-setting meet and finished with a bang as Pendleton was able to wrap up both titles. The girls held off a stiff challenge from Lapel to win 167.5-147, and the boys took the final event of the night to squeak out a 156.5-148.5 win over Lapel.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Arabians clip Eagles, go for Muller repeat The competitive feeling at Pendleton Height’s Bill Stoudt Field quickly faded Friday during the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Arabians once again took advantage of the opposing team’s generosity as Frankton pitchers gave up six walks and hit five batters, and Pendleton Heights took the 14-3 victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Arabians win County net title with 5-0 shutout

    An intriguing battle awaited and there was no indication what the team scores would be. Considering the Frankton Eagles had home court advantage, the Pendleton Heights Lady Arabians came hungry for the Madison County tennis title. Pendleton aced a 5-0 win and came away with the crown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Indians scratch back into Muller final A young and inexperienced Anderson team again proved its mettle Friday in the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Indians (2-3), playing without several expected starters to open the season, clawed out a 10-6 victory against Lapel (2-2) at Memorial Field to advance to the championship game for the 10th time.

    April 18, 2014