The head coaching vacancy in Orlando has now been filled.
According to team officials, the Orlando Magic will be hiring former San Antonio Spurs player and assistant coach Jacque Vaughn to be the teams new head coach.
The team will introduce Vaughn to the media during a press conference set for this coming Monday.
Jacque spent 12 seasons in the NBA as a player, competing with 5 different teams (Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs). He had career averages of 4.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
When Vaughn retired during the 2008-09 season, he was immediately brought on to be an assistant coach for Greg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. He shared the same duties as the teams 3 other assistant coaches (Mike Budenholzer, Don Newman and Brett Brown), but since league rules only allow 3 assistants on the bench during a game, Vaughn would then regularly find himself behind the bench instead.
While the name Jacque Vaughn might not inspire much confidence in a Magic fan base that has gone through its share of ups and downs in recent months (Dwight Howard?), I can very much see why the hire was made.
Vaughn is a young coach (37) who has just recently (as a player and coach) worked under one of the best minds in the sport in Popovich. He was even a part of Greg’s 2007 NBA Championship team, appearing in all 20 playoff games.
Lest we forget, it wasn’t too long ago that a former Spurs point guard in Avery Johnson went on to become a very successful coach in his own right, becoming the 2005 NBA Coach of the Year.
“Jacque Vaughn is a star. You can see the same qualities in him that you saw in Avery.” – Popovich (San Antonio Express)
Other names in the running for the position like Mike Malone and Brian Shaw may have been the more popular choices, but Vaughn is just as bright, just as hard-working and just as qualified as those other names, despite lacking in the experience department.
Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan and Vaughn have also worked with each other in the past. Rob was a member of the Spurs Basketball Operations Department during Jacques tenure in San Antonio.
For a Orlando team that’s going through some major renovations both internally and with the roster, hiring a coach with the potential to be great long-term and who already has the experience of working with one of the greatest coaches in the history of the league is a legit safe pick.
Expectations should certainly be tempered for Jacques first year with the team though. An abundance of new talent is surely going to be integrated into this ball club next season. This team is starting from scratch. The Magic are starting anew.
Give Vaughn the opportunity to shine, and good things can and will happen.
At least that’s what Magic fans will be hoping for…
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports