Frank Vogel will not return as Indiana Pacers coach next season.
Pacers President Larry Bird says the team will not renew Vogel's contract for next season. Bird says he believes it's time for a new voice to lead the Pacers, keeping with his long-held philosophy on short shelf lives for coaches.
"I want to thank Frank for his time in Indiana," Bird said. "We know he'll be successful down the road and end up geting a job, but for us, I just feel it's time to move in a different direction."
Vogel was 250-181 in five and a half seasons with the Pacers. He led the team to the playoffs five times, including a first-round loss to the Toronto Raptors this season. The Pacers won the Central Division twice and went to the Eastern Conference Finals twice under Vogel.
Bird says this is one of the toughest decisions he's ever had to make in basketball. He calls Vogel "the best" but says he started thinking about making a change around the All-Star break.
Bird ruled out the possibility of bringing in his former Celtic teammate Kevin McHale to replace Vogel. "I wouldn't do that to Kevin," Bird said, pointing out he didn't want to be his close friend's boss.
Vogel attempted to talk Bird out of the decision during a 30-minute phone call Thursday morning, Bird said to his news conference. Bird says the next head coach does not need previous heading coaching experience and doesn't need to be a former player. He pointed to Vogel's success as the example of why that doesn't need to be the case.