Indiana Pacers Hire Nate McMillan; Larry Bird Believes He’s the Right Man for the Job

The Indiana Pacers hire Nate McMillan as their new head coach. McMillan is a familiar face within the organization, as he’s spent the past 3 seasons as an assistant and the team’s associate head coach.

McMillan released a statement:

Indiana Pacers Hire Nate McMillan“I want to thank Larry, Herb Simon and the Pacers for this opportunity, which is a great opportunity. I’ve been around this franchise three years and understand what the expectations are and look forward to working hard to try to meet them. We have a good team and good base to build from. I’m very anxious to get started.”

McMillan quickly transitioned to coaching following his playing career with the Seattle Supersonics. Just one year removed from playing, he joined their staff as an assistant for two seasons before becoming the Sonics’ head coach from 2000-2005. His coaching record in Seattle was 212-183.

He went on to become the coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, compiling a record of 266-269 in 7 seasons, including 3 playoff appearances. In Portland, he worked with current Pacers’ general manager Kevin Pritchard from 2007 to 2010. McMillan had also interviewed for the Sacramento Kings’ coaching vacancy before being hired by the Pacers.

Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird, said in a statement:

“I truly believe Nate is the right coach for us at this time. When I heard he was interested, I got in touch with him, met with him and in our conversation I came away with all the confidence in the world in Nate to lead our franchise to where we want to go. His experience as a player, head coach and assistant coach in the NBA are valuable assets for us.”

The Pacers fired Frank Vogel, who had a 250-181 record in 6 years as the team’s head coach. Despite winning 58% of their regular season games and two playoff runs to the conference finals, the Pacers regressed the last two seasons.

In 2014-15 they failed to make the playoffs and in 2015-16 there were eliminated in the first round.

(Indiana Pacers Hire Nate McMillan)