Vogel most deserving of Rudy Tomjanovich Award
I’ve known Pacers coach Frank Vogel since he joined the organization as an assistant coach back in 2007. And since becoming the head coach in 2011, his first head-coaching gig, he hasn’t changed a bit. His sense of humor, positiveness and general care for others is obvious on a daily basis.
Vogel being named the recipient of the Rudy Tomjanovich award not only isn’t surprising, but it’s most deserving. The award, as voted on by approximately 175 members of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, is to “recognize excellence on the court with cooperation with the media and fans.”
In his third full season as head coach, Vogel becomes the fourth-ever recipient of the award, joining George Karl (2013), Doc Rivers (2012) and Jerry Sloan (2011). He beat out Oklahoma City’s Scott Brooks, Toronto’s Dwane Casey, Charlotte’s Steve Clifford and Houston’s Kevin McHale.
Those are all very good candidates, but Vogel easily got my vote — and here’s why: He goes above and beyond to represent himself and Pacers Sports & Entertainment with great integrity. He understands his role as both the coach of the Pacers and an ambassador for the city. He not only attends but speaks at nearly every key organization event, like the annual Thanksgiving Dinner and Pacers Foundation Golf Outing, to name a few. When called upon to speak with the local community, he has done so. He has also played in multiple golf outings in the area that benefit the community.
In media sessions, I’ve never seen Vogel cut guys off and he’s sure to answer any and all questions. When he’s asked questions that he isn’t going to answer, like whether there will be a change in the lineup a couple days ahead of a playoff game, he doesn’t lie but simply says, “Maybe. We’ll see.” With a big grin, of course.
Sometimes it feels like coaches talk with us more than their own families. On game days, he talks after morning shootaround, an hour and 45 minutes before tip-off and then once again postgame.
Typically, as he leans against the bleachers or wall at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, he’ll open up each media session asking, “How’s everybody doing today?” And after pregame chats during the playoffs, he often wishes writers best of luck on beating their deadlines.
When bad weather threatened a reporter’s travel schedule, Vogel offered to call postgame so that she wouldn’t have to fight the weather and could remain in Indianapolis. He understands we all have a job to do, so why make it more difficult than it needs to be?
Those of us in Indianapolis are fortunate to work with Vogel on a daily basis. That’s something I certainly appreciate and don’t take for granted. Vogel winning this award is a no-brainer.