The search for the new head coach of the Orlando Magic is heating up as two names surface in the team’s quest to replace the departed Frank Vogel.
According to the Athletic’s Michael Scotto, the Magic has expressed interest in pursuing Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
The Orlando Magic have expressed interest in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for the team's head coaching position, league sources told The Athletic.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) May 24, 2018
In a separate report, the New York Times’ Marc Stein says the team is interviewing former Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
The known candidates in Orlando's deliberate search: Steve Clifford (formerly a Magic assistant) and University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, who worked with Magic execs Jeff Weltman and John Hammond in Milwaukee https://t.co/rbmqUIinoM— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) May 24, 2018
The Hornets parted ways with Clifford two days after he completed a 36-46 campaign in 2017-18. It marked the second straight season the Hornets failed to make the playoffs and, for Clifford, marked the end of his five-year stint as coach in Charlotte.
Before becoming coach in Charlotte in 2013, Clifford spent 13 years as an NBA assistant coach with the Magic, Knicks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers.
Izzo, who won a national title in 2000 with the Spartans, endured a tough season with school engulfed in the Larry Nasser sexual abuse scandal and his program being questioned about an ESPN report revealing an assault on a female student in 2010 by one of Izzo’s former players who was at the time was serving on the coaching staff.
Izzo’s Michigan State teams have qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the last 21 years; but has missed the Sweet 16 the last three years, the longest drought during that streak. Izzo's teams have been to the Final Four seven times.
In 2000, the Atlanta Hawks pursued Izzo after he won the national title and in 2010, he flirted with the idea of leading the Cleveland Cavaliers, who is owned by MSU alum Dan Gilbert.