Savage: Five Reasons to be Excited About Vaughn

By Dan Savage
July 28, 2012


ORLANDO There’s no doubt that right now, it’s a tough time to be a Magic fan.

With media circuits constantly reporting, creating and weighing in on the Dwight Howard saga, it’s hard to consistently remain positive.

But the Magic took a step in the right direction to turning the organization into one that can hold long-term stability on Saturday when they announced that they’ve hired Jacque Vaughn as their next head coach.

That’s something that every member of True Blue Nation should be excited about.

If you’re still not sure, here’s why you should pumped up about Orlando’s newest acquisition.

1) He’s Won Before: The hardest thing to do in the National Basketball Association is win a championship.

However, Vaughn knows the way to the Promised Land. The 6’1” guard was a valuable asset to the 2006-07 title-winning San Antonio Spurs, giving a strong leadership presence off the pine.

Although this time around he won’t be able to help his team on the court, he’ll be able to let them know what it takes to get there.

2) He’s Learned From the Best: There are few franchises in this league that have had as much success as the Spurs. And during their past two campaigns, Vaughn has been an assistant coach on their staff.

He’s gained extensive knowledge under the tutelage of the great Gregg Popovich, who has overseen four title-winning squads (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007), amassed a career regular season record of 847-399 (.680) and is the longest tenured coach in the NBA.

San Antonio has continued its reign of success with Vaughn on staff, notching a 111-37 regular season mark over the past two years.

3) Hennigan Connection: One of the most difficult tasks in constructing a championship culture is building a leadership tree where the front office, general manager and head coach are all on the same page.

In their search for a general manager and the 10th head coach in franchise history, the Magic made sure that organizational unison was a top priority.

Rob Hennigan spent an extensive amount of time with Magic CEO Alex Martins and the DeVos family prior to being named GM.

The system was similar in nature for Vaughn, who also had to endure a lengthy interview process.

Hennigan and Vaughn are also familiar with one another from their time spent together in San Antonio.

“(Vaughn’s) commitment and passion to building a sustainable program will help steer our organization for years to come," Hennigan explained.

4) Been on Both Sides of the Fence: For coaches, it gets more challenging every year to relate to the modern-day athlete.

So who better to cultivate relationships with your roster than a former player?

Former Magic Head Coach Doc Rivers repeatedly said in the past that he thought Vaughn would someday make a fine head coach, because of his basketball smarts, charisma and communication skills with players.

It sounds like the Magic saw the same thing.

“We are confident that his diligence, attention to detail and communication style will help establish the bedrock of our culture moving forward,” Hennigan added.

5) Familiar City: Sometimes franchises realize after hiring a head coach that their new addition just doesn’t mesh with their city.

That won’t be a problem here. Vaughn played for the Magic from 2002-03 and was an integral part in their community programs like Read to Achieve.

He knows what Orlando is all about and is familiar with the culture the DeVos family expects in the locker room.

In other words, he seems like a perfect fit.

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