The Orlando Magic announced Saturday, following multiple media reports including the first from the Orlando Sentinel, that they have hired 37-year-old former NBA player and Spurs assistant Jacque Vaughn as their new head coach.
The move is not a surprise, as Vaughn has been in the running for weeks, and held a second reported interview with the Magic brass during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Vaughn missed a game coaching the Spurs’ Summer League team to interview.
Vaughn only retired from playing in 2009, and has spent the past two seasons with the Spurs under Gregg Popovich. Magic GM Rob Hennigan is himself a former Spurs executive having worked with Sam Presti there before joining Presti in Oklahoma City prior to his hire by the Magic. It’s clear that the Magic are trying to emulate the Spurs’ approach. Not an easy thing when you consider the relative success of some of the disciples, but if you’re going to model yourself after someone, that’s the team to do it.
Vaughn came under fire from Shaquille O’Neal recently who questioned why Mike Malone or Brian Shaw was not hired. O’Neal admitted in an interview with NBATV after the schedule release Thursday that he doesn’t know Jacque Vaughn at all, which should come as absolutely zero surprise to anyone.
The Magic managed to keep the interview process under wraps and clearly went in a direction away from more known candidates and towards ones that espoused the kind of quiet approach Hennigan has taken to management early on. Vaughn better get ready to speak a lot, though, with the Dwight Howard situation still unresolved and a roster that could change dramatically at any moment.
The Magic went young, they went with someone from a tree they trusted, they went with someone who comes highly recommended. It’s a gamble, but maybe the kind the organization needs to make.