From the moment he took over the head coaching job on an interim basis last season, Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel has been nothing but positive. Even a losing streak after a strong start couldn't take Vogel off his message of positive reinforcement.
While it seemed over the top at times, the positive approach not only pumped up the players but when the results delivered a playoff berth, fans realized there was no harm in being positive about the Pacers. Not only were there a fun group of young players to be excited about, but the coach was speaking directly to the fan base, imploring them to join the fun follow along.
It makes a difference to have your head coach selling the franchise so hard and letting fans know what his expectations are for a team many have monitored from afar. I love this little story from an AP report on Vogel and the work he's putting in with his new assistant coaches during the lockout.
Vogel is excited because of the mentorship his new assistants have received - Shaw worked under Phil Jackson, while Boylen worked under Rudy Tomjanovich in Houston in the 1990s. Most of all, he likes their rings.
"That's where we're going," Vogel said. "That's where the Pacers are going, and that's what we wanted to bring in in terms of beefing up the experience of our coaching staff."
The excitement level about the Pacers remains high. For example, while walking from Conseco Fieldhouse to a downtown Indianapolis restaurant, a group of construction workers stopped Vogel and asked him to sign their hard hats.
"To be embraced the way I have by this community, I really don't have any words for it," he said.
People can't help but enjoy the energy and enthusiasm Vogel brings to the Fieldhouse. Once games resume, there will be plenty of people rooting for the Pacers to do well just because they want Vogel to succeed as coach. I mean, you gotta love a guy who willing to engage fans at a Fever game, even if they give him a basketball and toothbrush.