Indiana Pacers Fire Head Coach Frank Vogel; 250-181 In 6 Seasons With Pacers
The Pacers were bounced from the Playoffs in the first round by the struggling Toronto Raptors. This led to immediate speculation on the future of the franchise and whether head coach Frank Vogel would be a part of that future.
Indiana Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird, announced Thursday that Frank Vogel will not be retained in his duties as coach of the team after six seasons. The move comes after several days of speculation after Yahoo Sports first reported that his contract had expired at season’s end. Vogel leaves the Pacers with a 250-181 record, good for a .580 winning percentage.
Bird said at a press conference that he felt that he had higher expectations than most for the team, which is apparent since he decided to let what is considered to be a very good coach go. Bird also said he feels that “good coaches” leave after three years.
This makes the Pacers the latest NBA franchise to throw their hat into the pool of teams without a coach at the helm. They join teams such as Houston, Sacramento, and New York as teams now competing for a small pool of head coaching candidates.
The Pacers reportedly do not have a plan in place for a replacement as of yet, but Bird did say that former Rockets and Wolves coach Kevin McHale would not be an option given the nature of he and Bird’s relationship as former teammates. “I respect him too much,” Bird said.
Larry Bird vs Frank Vogel: Clash of Styles
Bird had stated over the summer he wanted to go to small ball, trying to emulate the Warriors’ success. He talked about Paul George playing at power forward, which George resisted all summer and into training camp. That experiment didn’t work, Vogel moved George back to small forward and the team started winning games, reached the playoffs and challenged Toronto, the 2-seed, in the first-round.
We’ve seen this kind of dynamic before, in Chicago with Tom Thibodeau, and elsewhere, in that management’s philosophies and approach must align in order for the situation to continue. Vogel was hired when Bird was not with the team and clearly never saw Vogel as one of his guys. You have to have that synergy or else management is going to think they can find someone better.
Frank Vogel Will Find Work Real Soon
He shouldn’t be without a job too long, as he is the best available coaching candidate based on winning percentage, approach, style, communication, and demeanor factors. The Rockets and Kings should be in fast pursuit of Vogel, who could help fix not only their defensive woes, but the rampant chemistry problems in the locker room.
His reputation with his current and former players shows why he’d be a prime candidate for teams looking to add a few free agent pieces to get over the top. Don’t be surprised to see his name on the top of the list for teams such as Houston and New York.
Vogel’s teams had good communication and vibe, despite the disastrous meltdown by the Eastern Conference contending team two years ago. They play together and come prepared game after game. That matters for two franchises whose effort has consistently been a problem.
Frank Vogel is the best available coach on the market.
(Indiana Pacers Fire Head Coach Frank Vogel)