Vogel Era Began Two Years Ago
Today – Jan. 30, 2013 – is a notable day in Indiana Pacers history. Two years ago, Larry Bird fired Jim O’Brien after three-and-a-half seasons and promoted Frank Vogel, a guy with zero head coaching experience, to interim head coach.
“Wow, I had no idea,” Vogel said before hosting the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night. “It seems like a long time but it seems like just yesterday as well.”
The move paid off and the health of the franchise is much greater because of it.
Jim O’Brien didn’t sit well with players. The team was 17-27 on Jan 30., 2011. My last memory of O’Brien is watching him get tossed the night before in Chicago, and being escorted off the floor by John Gray, the teams’ Director of Team Security.
Enter Vogel (a loyal friend and mentee of O’Brien’s), who paid his dues — working his way up from video coordinator, to scout, to assistant coach and was now directing an NBA team. He built a great rapport in the locker room and it was his relationships and up-beat attitude that would change the culture of the franchise.
Bring on smashmouth basketball. That was the term he used to describe their play over the first year-and-a-half.
Vogel finished the year 20-18 and had the interim tag removed over the summer. He went out and hired Brian Shaw, a worthy head coach, to be his Associate Head Coach. He also brought on a former head coach in Jim Boylen and kept longtime assistant Dan Burke on board.
Last season, he guided the Pacers to a 42-24 record, good for the fifth-best record in the NBA during the lockout-shortened season. This year, the Pacers have been among the top of the Eastern Conference without the services of Danny Granger. When the team struggled in the early going, Vogel wasn’t afraid to shake things up and implement change.
Just over three weeks ago on Jan. 7th, Vogel received a contract extension which both recognized what he has done and provided some job security.
On the two-year anniversary of his start as an NBA head coach, Frank Vogel, the second-youngest active NBA coach behind Orlando’s Jacque Vaughn, has a career record of 88-61 (.591).