The Orlando Magic hired Jacque Vaughn to be the team’s new head coach John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com and Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel report. It ends an exhaustive search for Magic general manager Rob Hennigan and completes two of the three major franchise-shaping decisions the team had to make coming out of the 2012 season.
Vaughn has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Spurs. Both of those seasons, San Antonio finished with the best record in the Western Conference, reaching the Western Conference Finals last year. Vaughn also played 12 years in the NBA, including winning a championship with San Antonio in 2007.
Vaughn played the 2002-03 season with Orlando averaging 5.9 points and 2.9 assists per game backing up Darrell Armstrong.
“We are beyond excited to name Jacque Vaughn as our head coach,” Hennigan said in a release. “As we navigated through our coaching search, we quickly saw that Jacque’s spirit and leadership strengths made him the clear choice. We are confident that his diligence, attention to detail and communication style will help establish the bedrock of our culture moving forward. His commitment and passion to building a sustainable program will help steer our organization for years to come.”
Vaughn is an inexperienced head coach, but the hope from the Magic is that his recent experience in the NBA will help him relate to his players and develop them. Orlando is heading toward a rebuild and so those relationships appeared to be at the forefront of the Magic’s coaching search.
The other finalists were Philadelphia associate head coach Michael Curry, a former player and a one-year head coach in Detroit, and Phoenix director of player development Lindsey Hunter, a long-time point guard for Detroit but a guy with no coaching experience.
From those finalists alone, Orlando clearly wanted someone who will grow with the team and help establish the program Hennigan wants to build.
As Robbins put in his report, Vaughn took a similar career path as Avery Johnson, now the head coach for the Nets. Vaughn had a long playing career and then became a head coach under Gregg Popovich’s tutelage. Like Johnson, Vaughn quickly rose the ranks and Vaughn split the assistant coaching duties with San Antonio’s three other assistant coaches.
Vaughn was the Spurs head coach for Summer League and, as you can see from this reported from Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation, Vaughn took that job seriously even if he was just wearing shorts. Kawhi leonard certainly seemed to be excited about Vaughn’s work as the summer league team’s head coach.
Vaughn will officially be introduced Monday at 2 p.m.