Boylen rounds out strong coaching staff
By Conrad Brunner
Indianapolis, July 18, 2011 -- Though smaller in size, Frank Vogel's coaching staff will be much deeper not only in terms of NBA experience, but at the highest levels of the league.
With Monday's announcement that Jim Boylen had formally joined the staff that already included Brian Shaw and Dan Burke, Vogel's staff is complete -- and loaded. Boylen and Shaw bring 20 seasons of NBA experience, including seven championship rings.
They form a nice complement to the returning Burke, who is entering his 15th season with the Pacers and 23rd in the league.
"It's going to go back to a little bit of an old-school approach," Vogel said. "The league over the last few years has sort of had a shift in compartmentalizing things -- this guy's a player development guy, this guy's a big man coach, this guy's offense, this guy's defense. That's now how it used to be.
"You talk to a lot of the veteran coaches around the league and the old staffs used to be everybody was just a basketball coach. Everybody does everything. That's what I love about the staff we've put together here. Each guy has extensive experience in all areas and they're strong in all areas. It's just going to be a good fit."
Boylen, 46, won a pair of rings as an assistant with the Rockets and during an 11-year run in Houston that included time with both Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming developed a solid reputation for developing and polishing big men.
He also has extensive experience at the collegiate level, most recently as head coach at Utah for four seasons. He served two stints at Michigan State, starting under Jud Heathcoate from 1987-92 and returning to work under Tom Izzo.
In his second season at Utah, Boylen guided the team to a 24-10 record and the Mountain West tournament championship, earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But the Utes were upended by Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Arizona in the first round. Two losing seasons followed and Boylen was fired.
Throughout the hiring process, team President Larry Bird made it clear he wanted the coaching staff to do a better job managing the locker room. Though the Pacers were far from discordant last season, there were some issues that arose during the year.
In Boylen, Shaw and Burke, Vogel believes he has added the types of personalities to help him handle those situations.
"It's probably the number one thing I was looking for -- guys that have the exact right balance between toughness and positive energy," Vogel said. "You can't just be overly positive and never come down on guys that aren't getting it done.
"All of these assistant coaches that we're bringing in here have that balance and it's going to be a fun and positive environment but it's going to be a challenging environment, as well. Our guys are going to be put to the test and be held to a very high standard of accountability. That's what we need to be one of the elite teams in this league."
Shaw has five rings, three as a player and two as an assistant coach with the Lakers. Burke previously served eight seasons in Portland before joining the Pacers.