The Pacers have signed coach Frank Vogel to an extension, the team announced. The arrangement covers multiple seasons, but no other terms are immediately available. Vogel had been set to enter the final season of his existing deal.
The 41-year-old Vogel revealed last month that he and the team were in extension talks and said that he wanted to remain with the Pacers “forever.” It seemed an iffy proposition this spring that he would hold the job much longer, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported that the Pacers would dismiss him if the team performed poorly in the playoffs. GM Kevin Pritchard dismissed the notion, but Mark Jackson loomed as a potential replacement, as Stein wrote later. There even appeared to be an outside chance that president of basketball operations Larry Bird would oust Vogel and come down to the bench and coach in his place before the playoffs began. Bird nonetheless expressed confidence in Vogel during the final week of the regular season after making comments earlier in the season that seemed critical of Vogel’s coaching style.
Indiana reached the Eastern Conference Finals and took the Heat to six games before falling, nearly matching the team’s achievement the year before, when the Pacers extended the Heat to seven games in the same round. Still, the Pacers took a circuitous path back to that point, with a hot start to this past season and a disturbing post All-Star malaise. Indiana nonetheless held on to grab the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the franchise suffered a pair of painful losses in the offseason. Lance Stephenson rejected a five-year, $45MM offer to re-sign and bolted for the Hornets, while Paul George broke his leg during a Team USA scrimmage, likely knocking him out for the season.
Vogel’s tenure as Pacers coach dates to the 2010/11 season, when he took over on an interim basis for the final 38 games of the regular season and secured the team’s first playoff bid in five years. The Pacers removed the interim tag the following summer, and the Pacers went a round deeper into the playoffs the next two seasons before plateauing this spring. Vogel has compiled a 167-100 record in the regular season and a 28-26 mark in the playoffs over the course of his time as Indiana’s head coach.
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