The Indiana Pacers intend to keep Frank Vogel as head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Vogel was said to be coaching for his job earlier this season as Indiana went only 16-14 after the All-Star break and were pushed to seven games in the first round by the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks. Wojnarowski's report comes just minutes after ESPN's Marc Stein posited that the Pacers could fire Vogel and replace him with Mark Jackson.
Indiana's season ended on Friday night after it was defeated in the Eastern Conference finals by the Miami Heat in six games. It was the third straight season the Pacers have been eliminated by the Heat. After a season plagued by contention in the locker room, Vogel was thought to be on the hot seat. Stein reported that Vogel may have lost his job had Indiana been eliminated by the Hawks or Washington Wizards earlier in the playoffs.
Heat vs. Pacers
Heat vs. Pacers
Vogel took over after the Pacers fired Jim O'Brien in January of 2011. Indiana has become the best defensive team in basketball under Vogel's watch, finishing No. 1 in points allowed per 100 possessions each of the last two seasons, per NBA.com. The Pacers have never finished lower than the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with Vogel as coach for the entire season.
The decision to retain Vogel is the first several tough decisions the Pacers will have to make this offseason. The unrestricted free agency of 23-year-old shooting guard Lance Stephenson will be Indiana's toughest choice. Vogel has been credited with helping develop Pacers starters Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Stephenson, but Stephenson's antics against LeBron James and the Heat drew the ire of Vogel.
The 40-year-old Vogel is 167-100 since becoming the head coach of the Pacers.