Indiana Pacers president, Larry Bird introduced Frank Vogel as the team's head coach this morning, saying he felt strongly about hiring Vogel after numerous discussions between the two about Vogel's plans with the team and the coaches he planned to add to his staff.
Bird and Vogel met the media but had to steer clear of any talk about the players or the NBA lockout so we didn't hear Vogel's assessment of how incredibly awesome each player is and how excited he is to work with them. The two even pushed off talk about Brian Shaw or the unnamed third assistant coach, instead pointing toward another press conference in a week or two to announce those hirings.
So there wasn't a lot of meat on the bone of this press conference, but I did paraphrase some of the key comments which you can read after the jump.
Vogel opening comments: First, wanted to thank his wife and daughters for enduring the sacrifices that come along with this profession. Thanked Jim O'Brien for being a mentor and a friend for guiding his career and the man he's developed into. Thanked Rick Pitino for inspiring him to pursue coaching as a profession. Thanked Herb Simon, Larry Bird and David Morway for believing in him and letting him build on playoffs last year.
The team took a big step at the end of last season but we're not satisfied by any stretch. Excited to continue to represent this team. This is going to be fun and exciting era for Pacer basketball. Building something bigger here. We shoot for the moon, dream big and work out tails off to reach those dreams. And we have fun doing it.
Really appreciates being an NBA coach, but to be a coach in Indiana where people love and appreciate basketball like I love and appreciate basketball -- pretty cool.
Vogel on the long process: Front office was very respectful throughout the process and seemed like they were looking out for me more than anything. They wanted to make sure I had the best support system possible.
Bird on process: I knew it was important for Frank to go out and interview as many good assistant coaches as possible.
Vogel on support from players and fans: Overwhelmed and grateful for all of the fan support and the player relationships he's developed and looks forward to building on it.
Bird on concerns from last season: Wanted to make sure he got an associate head coach with experience. Mentioned the locker room issues with assistants and players, but they dealt with players after the season about locker room issues and doesn't think we'll have problems.
Vogel: Known for a couple of days that he would be the Pacers coach.
Vogel on finding middle ground between players coach/hard coach: When I took over last year I did what I needed to do for that team at that time. They needed a boost to believe in themselves again but he was able to tighten things up when needed.
Vogel on what he can do during lockout: Never have the mindset that there's nothing to do. He'll have to be creative but there will be plenty to do during lockout.
Vogel on what team gained from playoff experience: Any team trying to reach an elite level first needs to feel it. Until you've been through it you don't know what it feels like to take that step.
Vogel on when he felt he was right man for the job: Not a specific point. I've always had a great deal of belief in myself and always felt like I could do the job if given the opportunity.
Bird on other formal interviews:Just talked with other coaches on the phone. Lot of interest, but I talked to David (Morway) and my owner and we were all comfortable with Frank. We'd discuss other coaches but the discussion always led back to Frank. Our players are excited.
Vogel on style going forward: Have to tailor you style to the personnel but can't talk about personnel. Will be similar to what we saw last year.
Surprised he's coaching at such an early point in career: Of course, I don't think anyone envisions being a head coach at 38 years old. I'm going to work my tail off to take advantage of the opportunity.
Bird on comments he may only be here one more year:We're taking it a year at a time. There's a lot of uncertainty this year, so once we get through the uncertainty we'll see where we're at and move forward. In other words: thanks for asking but here's a couple of sentces that don't really say anything.
So there you go. Again, those aren't direct quote and Pacers.com will have the video but the bottom line is that the Pacers have a coach with no players to coach until the lockout is over.