By Josh Cook
Walter McCarty is returning to the NBA.
Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien announced the hiring of McCarty , the now former University of Louisville assistant men's basketball coach, Thursday. O'Brien previously coached McCarty at the University of Kentucky and the Boston Celtics.
McCarty  has been on Rick Pitino's bench for the last three seasons.
"Walt has been an integral part of my basketball family for many years, both as a player and a coach," Pitino said in a release. "He is an outstanding teacher, motivator and person and will be a great asset to the Pacers organization. We will miss his upbeat and positive personality he brought each and every day. We are very excited for him to enter the ranks of professional basketball as a coach."
The 36-year-old McCarty, an Evansville, Ind. native, played at the UK and then for 10 seasons in the NBA with the New York Knicks, Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.
"I am ecstatic about returning to my home state and to start working with the Pacers," McCarty said. "I am anxious to work alongside Jim O'Brien and am very excited about the direction this franchise is headed."
O'Brien was an assistant at UK under Pitino when he coached McCarty, and did so again later as the head coach of the Celtics.
"I had the privilege to be associated with Walter at the University of Kentucky and with the Boston Celtics," O'Brien said. "He's an extremely hard-working student of the game and he and his family will be great additions to the Pacers and the Indianapolis area."
McCarty has been a vital part of the UofL coaching staff over the last few years, especially in his work with the Cardinals' big men. His departure opens up a spot on Pitino's staff that shouldn't be vacant for too long.