On the eve of training camp and the start of the preseason, Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien gained some added security and an endorsement from his bosses today. Team president Larry Bird and owner Herb Simon exercised a team option to extend O'Brien's contract for one additional year, according to team officials.
O'Brien was entering the final year of his three-year deal with team. Barring any unforeseen changes, O'Brien will stay on the bench with the Pacers through the 2010-11 season.
"I appreciate (owner) Herb (Simon) and Larry's confidence as we move toward getting this franchise back to where it belongs," said O'Brien in a press release. "I love Indianapolis and all of the fans in Indiana, and I remain committed to bringing a championship to the Indiana Pacers."
O'Brien has compiled a 72-92 record in two years with the blue and gold. He has a career record of 254-250 in seven seasons. If O'Brien fulfills his new contract, he will become just the fifth coach in team history to stay on the bench for more than three seasons. Bird said in the press release that O'Brien is committed to making the Pacers a winning franchise again.
"We are very happy to get the option done on Jim's contract," Bird said. "When I interviewed Jim for this job, he was committed to everything we want to do. We both feel we're moving in the right direction."
Bird is also entering the final year of his contract as head of team operations. Simon has expressed that he wants Bird to stay in charge of the team after this season.