Magic have their man, announce Frank Vogel as new head coach
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — After agreeing to a deal with Frank Vogel on Thursday, the Orlando Magic completed a whirlwind eight days by formally announcing their new head coach.
The team confirmed reports Friday that Vogel had been hired and will be formally introduced on Monday.
"While we were conducting our search, it became very evident that Frank is a terrific fit for our organization," Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said in a statement. "He is a strong, hard-working and experienced leader, who will continue to instill smart, physical, unselfish and defensive-minded basketball in our group. We welcome him into the Magic family, as we move forward in a positive direction."
Vogel replaces Scott Skies, who surprised the organization when he resigned on May 12. Vogel comes to Orlando as a proven head coach with playoff experience having led the Indiana Pacers the last five full seasons with the team making the postseason in each of those seasons.
The 42-year-old Vogel did not have his Indiana contract renewed following this season. The Pacers made the playoffs but were bounced in Game 7 of the first round by the Toronto Raptors. During Vogel’s tenure Indiana he compiled a 250-181 regular-season record. He was also 31-30 in the postseason with the Pacers.
After Skiles resigned, team CEO Alex Martins and Hennigan both said at a news conference that they wanted a coach who has strong defensive principles and can connect with the players.
Vogel succinctly fits what the Magic were looking in a coach. His Pacer teams were usually one of the top defensive clubs in the NBA, finishing in the top six in field goal percent defense in each of his five full seasons as head coach. The Pacers were also top 10 in the league in defensive efficiency under Vogel.
"In Frank, we feel we have someone with tremendous perseverance, character and great balance," Martins said. "He is an effective communicator, who brings a wealth of strategic and postseason experience, and is someone who is incredibly excited to embrace the journey ahead. We are excited to welcome Frank and his wonderful family to our Magic family."
Vogel inherits one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, but also one stocked with talent. The Magic are building around young players like Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo and Efrid Payton.
The Magic are hopeful they are just a couple of veteran pieces away from returning to the playoffs after missing the postseason four straight seasons. They also say they are looking to re-sign free agent forward Evan Fournier, who will hit the market in July.
The team made some strides under Skiles in his only season, improving by 10 wins this season to finish 35-47. Were it not for a horrible January in which they went 2-12, most believe they would have made the postseason this year.
Since Pacers director of operations Larry Bird announced last month that Vogel’s contract would not be renewed he has been connected most of the openings. There was said to be some interest from the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies in addition to Orlando. But the Magic emerged as a strong possibility this week.