Good hire. I believe Chuck has a good relationship with the players and seems to be the only guy who maybe is somewhat close to Artest.
Person was one of the most misunderstood Pacers players ever. He was somewhat limited from an athletic standpoint, but he was the smartest player on the Pacers team at the time.
Carlisle hires Person as assistant coach
Former player spent 1st 6 years in NBA with Pacers, returned as 'special assistant.'
Chuck Person will continue to work one-on-one with Jermaine O'Neal and other Pacers as an assistant coach. -- John Severson / The Star
By Mark Montieth
Rick Carlisle's search for a new assistant coach never had to leave Conseco Fieldhouse.
Chuck Person, formerly a "special assistant" for the Indiana Pacers, will move to the bench next season as Mike Brown's replacement.
Person played his first six NBA seasons for the Pacers, receiving the Rookie of the Year award in 1987. He has performed a hybrid role the past three years, working with players in individual workouts and assisting CEO Donnie Walsh and team president Larry Bird in the front office.
This move will narrow his career path toward coaching, at least for now.
"Having a chance to work in the front office was a great opportunity, but at the end of the day my heart lies with coaching," Person said. "I'm really looking forward to helping the team move forward."
Carlisle said he had made contact with other candidates, including Kenny Natt, an ex-Pacer who worked on Cleveland's coaching staff last season. Once Carlisle became aware of Person's interest, however, he cut off his search.
"I wasn't sure if Chuck was interested in going to the bench, but about three days ago we had a conversation and he let me and Kevin (O'Neill) know he was very interested in doing it," Carlisle said. "That was great news.
"Chuck knows our team and our players are comfortable with him. It's a ready-made direction to go. I'm really glad the interest was there on his side."
Brown, an assistant for Carlisle the past two seasons, left to become Cleveland's head coach. O'Neill, who joined Carlisle's staff last season, has moved into Brown's role of associate head coach.
Person will continue to meet with players for individual workouts. This week, for example, he's working with Ron Artest, James Jones, John Edwards and David Harrison at the Fieldhouse. His other responsibilities will be focused on offense, but will be further defined as he goes along.
"We haven't designated everything yet, but he'll do every third or fourth game plan with the other assistants and will have responsibility for individual workouts," Carlisle said. "There are some areas of team offense where he'd be a very good person to delegate to."
Person said he's open to all possibilities.
"Whatever Rick wants me to do for the team to be successful is what I'm going to do," he said. "Rick will use me to my strengths."
Person, the fourth pick in the 1986 draft, averaged 19 points during his playing career with the Pacers. He was traded to Minnesota for Sam Mitchell and Pooh Richardson in 1992, and later played for San Antonio and Seattle.
Call Star reporter Mark Montieth at (317) 444