MIAMI: Frank Vogel, coach of the Indiana Pacers for the past five seasons, was named Friday as coach of the NBA Orlando Magic.
The 42-year-old American, also a former assistant coach with Philadelphia and Boston, replaced Scott Skiles, who resigned last week after the Magic went 35-47 in his only campaign as coach.
Orlando has endured four losing seasons in a row, but the Magic were 10 games better last season than the previous season and there is hope Vogel can make more progress.
“This group is ready to make that next jump,” Vogel said. “My intention is to come in and make this happen for this group right away and make that jump [to the playoffs]this year. This is going to be a season about being on a mission and winning a lot of games.”
Vogel is known for emphasizing defensive work. Indiana’s past five teams were among the NBA’s top six each season in shooting percentage defense and all six were in the top 10 for defensive efficiency.
“Frank is a terrific fit for our organization,” Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said. “He is a strong, hard-working and experienced leader who will continue to instill smart, physical, unselfish and defensive-minded basketball in our group.”
Vogel went 250-181 with the Pacers and reached the playoffs five times, going so far as the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and 2014 but losing to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat each time.
“In Frank, we feel we have someone with tremendous perseverance, character and great balance,” Magic chief executive Alex Martins said. “He’s an effective communicator who brings a wealth of strategic and postseason experience and is incredibly excited to embrace the journey ahead.”