Frank Vogel isn't going anywhere.
Speculation regarding Vogel's job security took a turn for the ugly in recent weeks, courtesy of the Indiana Pacers' frightful downturn. In no time at all, he went from coaching the Eastern Conference All-Star team to coaching for his job.
And it looks like he's succeeded, per Pacers.com's Scott Agness:
If there was any doubt, Frank Vogel confirmed that he’ll be back next season.— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) June 2, 2014
This news shouldn't strike anyone as stunning. Vogel still guided the Pacers to a second straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance. They still took two games from the Miami Heat. A lesser sideline-wanderer wouldn't have been able to lead this bumbling club that far.
Team president Larry Bird and his organizational minions know this, and they've acted accordingly.
Shortly after the Pacers were eliminated from the playoffs, Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski revealed the Pacers had no plans to fire Vogel. He actually says they never had any intention of firing him:
Indiana management has never considered replacing him, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Vogel's job status had become fodder for debate because of an unsteady late-season slide that extended into the playoffs, but Pacers president Larry Bird and general manager Kevin Pritchard have remained strong believers in him, sources said.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein first reported that Vogel was on the chopping block back in the opening round of the playoffs. But Bird and general manager Kevin Pritchard quickly put those rumors to rest:
Larry Bird just told me his sources say Frank Vogel's job is safe. @Pacers— Kevin Pritchard (@PacersKev) April 24, 2014
Whatever went wrong with the Pacers this season was on the players more than Vogel. Though he struggled to make adjustments, he also wasn't working with much.
Larry Bird, on Coach Vogel: "His job was never in jeopardy."— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) June 2, 2014
Not even Paul George is absolved of all blame. He, too, played inconsistent basketball.
Paul George's final 24 minutes of Game 5: 31 points. First 24 minutes of Game 6? 1.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) May 31, 2014
Collectively, the Pacers were and remain psychologically fragile—liable to crumble at the first sign of adversity. That's not a Vogel-based problem. It's a personnel problem, a defect that can be fixed by only one man: Bird.
Are the Pacers right in keeping Frank Vogel on?
"Bird's fingerprints are at the scene of the crime, too," writes USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt. "He put together this roster and made numerous moves, mostly to bolster the bench, that failed."
Changing coaches only masks the real issue, and it doesn't bring the Pacers closer to winning a title. Improving the roster will. Getting to the root of their untimely demise will.
Keeping Vogel provides stability the team clearly needs. At minimum, it helps ensure things don't get any worse.
That remains to be seen. But Vogel's value to these Pacers, even in defeat, is coming through loud and clear.