Frank Vogel released an official statement regarding his dismissal from the Pacers, and the former coach thanked the organization, executive Larry Bird and the team’s fans for their support, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports relays. “I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the Simon family, Larry Bird and the entire Indiana Pacers organization for giving me the opportunity to serve as the head coach of this team for the past six seasons. This is one of the top-flight organizations in the National Basketball Association and I truly enjoyed every minute I spent as the leader of this group of men,” Vogel wrote. “During my time with the Pacers, we made a lot of positive memories and none of that would have been possible without the support of Larry, the front office and all of the players I had the opportunity to coach. We consistently battled through thick and thin, and that is something that I am very proud of.”
“Lastly, I want to give a huge thanks to Pacers fans in Indiana and across the country,” Vogel continued. “You all have treated my family and me with kindness and class throughout our time here and I can’t thank you enough for that. My family and I consider Indianapolis home and this community will always hold a special place in our hearts.”
Here’s more from Indiana:
- Vogel wasn’t a perfect coach, given his lack of adaptability and his failure to get the most out of ex-Pacers Evan Turner and Gerald Green, but he wasn’t inept at offense, which Bird wants more of, and the way Lance Stephenson, David West and Roy Hibbert have performed since leaving Indiana speaks to the coach’s value, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com argues. Ultimately, the decision to let go of Vogel puts the onus on Bird’s acumen as an executive going forward, Lowe writes.
- Bird cited the success of a Celtics coaching move that took place in 1983 as one of the reasons he decided against retaining Vogel, and that, as well as his reluctance to consult star Paul George about his would-be position switch last year, shows the executive is stuck in the past, contends Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star.
- The players were aware of Vogel’s status as a potential lame duck since the All-Star break, and they weren’t surprised by the announcement that the coach had been dismissed, notes Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter links).
- Bird publicly relaying that Vogel tried to talk his way out of being dismissed likely won’t look good to potential coaching candidates, opines Nate Taylor of The Indianapolis Star. According to the scribe, that admission by Bird demonstrates to candidates that he is capable of disparaging them, whether he respects them or not.
- Bird’s stance that Vogel didn’t get the most out of Indiana’s roster this season isn’t necessarily correct, as many around the league believed the Pacers overachieved this season, writes Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News. “It comes down to what you’re looking for going forward,” Bird said. “We’ve got some good players, and we’ve got two guys I think are really good players. And how are we going to get the other guys to raise their level of play? That’s what the new coach has got to do.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.