Irvine coached the Pacers from the 1984-85 season until 1988-89, failing to make the playoffs while going 54-130. He coached the Pistons for two seasons from 1999-2000 to 2000-01, making one first-round playoff appearance while guiding the team to a 46-60 record.
Irvine also served as the Pacers interim coach in 1988 and was an assistant for the team from 1980 to 1983 and again during the 1991-92 and 1993-95 seasons. He also assisted former Pacers general manager and president Donnie Walsh in the front office.
"George Irvine brought me to Indiana and in my mind he was the beginning of NBA basketball with the Pacers in our building process for the years to come," Walsh said in a statement. "He had a great basketball mind, which allowed him to function at a high level as a coach, administrator and purveyor of talent. George was a once-in-a-lifetime friend and one of the best men in my life."
In his six ABA seasons from 1970-71 to 1975-76, Irvine averaged 9.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 325 games for the Virginia Squares and Denver Nuggets. He averaged a career-high 13.1 points with the Squares in 1974-75.