Joseph Donald "Donnie" Walsh, Jr. (born March 1, 1941) is a consultant for Basketball Operations of the Indiana Pacers and a former professional basketball coach. He is also the former President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.
Life and career
Walsh was born in Manhattan, New York City, and attended Fordham Preparatory School in The Bronx, New York. Walsh played college basketball at the University of North Carolina for coaches Frank McGuire and Dean Smith and was selected by the Philadelphia Warriors in the NBA draft, but never played in the NBA. Walsh earned both a bachelor's degree and a law degree at UNC. He turned down opportunities to practice law in order to coach basketball.
Walsh served as an assistant coach for several college teams, including twelve seasons at the University of South Carolina, working with McGuire, who was the Gamecocks' head coach. From there Walsh was hired as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets by Larry Brown. He became the head coach of the Nuggets in 1979 and held the position for a year and a half, being replaced with Doug Moe in 1980. In 1984, he became an assistant with the Indiana Pacers.
He later took a position as general manager with the Pacers, where in 1987 he made the then-controversial decision to select Reggie Miller in the NBA Draft over local hero Steve Alford of Indiana University. The decision later proved to be prescient, as Miller had a Hall of Fame NBA career whereas Alford was a bust in the pros. He was later promoted to the position of CEO and president and held that position until shortly before the end of the 2007–08 season. During Walsh's tenure the Pacers reached the playoffs in 16 of the previous 17 years heading into the 2006–07 season.
On April 2, 2008, the New York Knicks announced that Walsh had agreed to become their president of basketball operations. Walsh immediately recognized the expensive long-term contracts the Knicks carried, and traded Jamal Crawford for Al Harrington. That same day,[when?] Walsh traded Mardy Collins and Zach Randolph for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas. Though Mobley retired of a heart condition, his contract, as well as those of Harrington and Thomas, were contracts that expired at the end of the 2009–2010 NBA season, decreasing the Knicks' payroll by $27 million and giving them enough cap space to sign anyone notable from the heralded free agent class of 2010 which included NBA players such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Joe Johnson.
Walsh's first major signing came on July 8, 2010, when he signed Amar'e Stoudemire to a five-year, $100 million contract. In the 2010–2011 season, Walsh would make a multi-player trade involving star players Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups coming to the Knicks in exchange for a few players, including Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari, and undisclosed amounts of cash.
On June 3, 2011, Walsh resigned as general manager, but remained with the team as a consultant.  On June 27, 2012, Walsh returned to the Pacers as President of Basketball Operations as Larry Bird stepped down. In 2013, Walsh helped the Pacers reach the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, where the team lost to eventual NBA Champion Miami Heat.
- Howard Beck, Walsh Will Take Control of Knicks, New York Times, April 2, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/sports/basketball/02walsh.html.
- Donnie Walsh won't return to New York Knicks
- "NBA: Bird leaves Pacers as Walsh returns to replace him". 28 June 2012.
- "Donnie Walsh". Retrieved 2012-06-28.
|New York Knicks President