Frank Vogel's ascension through the basketball coaching ranks to head coach of the Indiana Pacers is a wonderful story on a personal level.
Feel free to scrutinize the hire based on X's and O's or due to other available coaching candidates, but regardless of your opinion of the hire from a purely basketball point of view, it is impossible not to zoom out and applaud Vogel for putting himself in position to be hired by the Pacers.
Vogel is the ultimate rags-to-riches coaching story, and by rags-to-riches I'm not focusing on his financial situation (although he's certainly better off today financially than he was yesterday) but instead on the insane and unlikely path he took to suddenly become the youngest of only 30 NBA coaches on the planet.
Vogel scrapped his D-III playing career with no guarantees, taking a chance to latch on to Rick Pitino's program at Kentucky. Jim O'Brien cracked the door open for Vogel to embed himself in the program and from there Vogel went to work for 15 years, following Pitino and then JOB to various NBA jobs, working, contributing and learning every day.
Vogel didn't just cut up film in his early role as a video coordinator, he paid attention to what coaches and scouts did with that film and learned not only how to cut up the film but then how to break it down and eventually start developing game plans. Hard work and preparation kept Vogel around the game he loved and then suddenly the game paid him back handsomely.
While he would be considered a branch on the Pitino coaching tree, he's the only leaf sprouting from JOB's coaching tree which adds to the oddity of this story. But when JOB was fired last season, Vogel had all of that past hard work and preparation to tap into, taking the opportunity and making the most of it.
Vogel didn't have time to make drastic changes but he quickly proved he was his own man with his own ideas for running a team. His less-talented Pacers staggered the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. The Pacers were prepared to attack one of the best-prepared teams in the league, in position to win every game but one if only a player or two were able to step up and make a play down the stretch.
So that leads us to yesterday, when Frank Vogel was hired to see if he can develop this young Pacers squad to not only get them back in position to compete in big games, as they did against the Bulls, but to also close out those games with wins more times than not.
Like head coach Frank Vogel, that's something we can all root for when the NBA returns to action.