Peter John "P. J." Carlesimo (born May 30, 1949) is an American basketball coach. Most recently he was the interim head coach of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. He has also been an NBA and college basketball head coach, as well as a television broadcaster. Carlesimo was hired to cover NBA games for The NBA on TNT during the 2009 playoffs, and has also covered the 2010 NCAA tournament as a color analyst for Westwood One. He will be one of several rotating analysts doing road games for the Boston Celtics on CSN New England starting with the 2013-14 NBA Season.
Carlesimo is a 1971 graduate of Fordham University, where he played basketball under coach Digger Phelps. He began his coaching career as an assistant at the school after he graduated. He received his first head coaching job when he took over New Hampshire College for one year, beginning in 1975. The New Hampshire Penmen ended the 1975–1976 season with a 14-13 record and won the Mayflower Conference championship. Carlesimo also had a successful coaching stint at Wagner College of Staten Island, New York, a Division I school, leading the team to two NIT berths in six years as coach from 1976 to 1982. In addition, Carlesimo spent time coaching in Puerto Rico during the summers.
Carlesimo coached Seton Hall University from 1982–1994, and was named the school's "Coach of the Century." He led the Pirates, a once struggling program, to the 1989 NCAA Championship game before losing to the Michigan Wolverines in overtime. Carlesimo was two-time Big East Conference coach of the year, following both the 1988 season, when he led Seton Hall to its first ever tournament appearance, and his 1989 runner-up year. During Carlesimo's tenure, the Pirates made the NCAA tournament six times, four consecutively from 1991 until 1994.
Carlesimo moved to the NBA in 1994, taking over the Portland Trail Blazers from Rick Adelman. He led the team to a winning record and the playoffs in his first season as an NBA head coach. Carlesimo led the Blazers to the playoffs in each of his three years as their head coach. However, he was unable to lead the team out of the first round of the playoffs and was fired following the 1996–97 season.
In 1997, Carlesimo headed to the Golden State Warriors, again taking over for Rick Adelman. He coached that team until December 1999, at which point he was fired after his team got off to a losing start for the third straight year.
On December 27, 2012, he was promoted to interim head coach of the Nets after the firing of Avery Johnson. Carlesimo took a team floundering at 14-14, and compiled 35-19 record and a fourth-place finish in the East, earning home-court advantage for the Nets in the first round. On May 5, 2013, he was fired as interim head coach of the Nets after losing a first round Eastern Conference series against the Chicago Bulls in 7 games.
In a practice during the 1997-98 season while Carlesimo was head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Carlesimo was attacked by Latrell Sprewell. Sprewell choked Carlesimo for nearly 15 seconds until being pulled off by several teammates, and elbowed him several minutes later. The Warriors terminated Sprewell's contract, and the NBA suspended him for one year (later reduced to 68 games by an arbitrator); he never played for the Warriors again and continued to have troubles on and off the court.