During a radio interview with 107.5 The Fan Tuesday morning, Indiana Pacers head Coach Rick Carlisle took time to sing the Colts praises for what they accomplished during the 2023 season.
"First of all, I thought they had an amazing year. I don't know what their projected win total was, but they shattered it," Carlisle said. "I thought Shane Steichen did one of the most brilliant jobs any rookie coach has ever done in any sport."
Steichen led the Colts to a 9-8 record and going into Week 18 they were a win away from clinching a playoff berth. Ultimately, they lost to the Texans in disheartening fashion, which ended what had been a promising season for them.
"I think he and [DeMeco] Ryans, the kid from Houston should both get Coach of the Year," Carlisle said. "I just thought the job they both did was out of this world. I don't know what's gonna happen with all that, but I just have a great, great deal of respect for what I witnessed this year over there and wish those guys the best."
Shortly after Steichen was named the Colts' new head coach last February, Carlisle got to meet him. Though their interaction was brief, he said he could see Steichen's potential right away.
"There was no question to me that they hired the right guy, and I hadn't even seen one game. You just have a sense and a feeling about a person. This guy was obviously, a highly, highly intelligent guy, has a certain energy about him and you could just tell he was a guy wired for success."
Carlisle's hunch was proved correct by the Colts' resiliency this season and ability to keep going despite facing adversity. Their latest example of the latter was an especially telling moment for Carlisle.
As players were repeatedly asked about Steichen's decision-making following last Saturday's loss, they remained steadfast in their support. This was especially evident by running back Jonathan Taylor and his response when asked if he thought the coaching staff made the right decision on fourth-and-1.
"That was the play we called and I stand by the coaches," Taylor said on Saturday night. "You see what Shane has done all year. Have you really questioned his calls all year? He's always calling in the right play at the right time. I don't think anybody questioned the call. No one did."
Described by Carlisle as a testament to the culture the Colts are building, he said he sees similarities with what he's been trying to establish with the Pacers.
"I just think it's such an amazing tribute to what they're doing over there, and this is why you take care of a guy and you pay a guy like Jonathan Taylor. He's not only a great player, but he's obviously a guy of amazing, high-level character.
"I'm just really happy for their franchise and wow, what momentum they have going into next year."