Vogel on Brad Stevens
When word spread Wednesday afternoon that Indiana native and Butler head coach Brad Stevens had agreed to become the Boston Celtics’ next head coach, Pacers coach Frank Vogel was as shocked as anyone. Especially in this day and age, when word usually gets leaked before a deal is made.
“I think it’s a brilliant move by (President of Basketball Operations) Danny Ainge and the Celtics because obviously Brad is a brilliant coach and he’s just going to do great.”
Stevens, 36, becomes the youngest head coach in the NBA, sliding Vogel, who recently turned 40, down to fourth. Wednesday night, the two exchanged text messages, which they do quite often, and plan to sit down to discuss the transition next week in Orlando. Vogel, who’s been the Pacers’ head coach for 185 regular season games, thinks Stevens will do excellent because the mutual respect he’s had with his players.
“Brad’s strength is his ability to communicate and relate to his players, and to pull them in and to pull them together. That’s half the battle; maybe more than half the battle in the NBA is just building those relationships, earning that trust.
“Your relationships with your players at this level probably are more important than at the college level. That’s the first part of why he’s going to be successful. His intelligence in preparing game plans and preparing a system and having a unit of players play as a unit. I think that’s going to translate.”
Vogel wouldn’t admit it, but he may have been indirectly responsible for the Celtics entrusting Stevens with such a desired position. He (along with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra) is a great example of a young basketball mind successfully leading a professional franchise. Vogel was put in position to direct the Pacers when he was 37, not only because of his eye for the game but how he connected with players. They believed in him and wanted to win for him.
There will be a transition period for Stevens because he’s never coached in the NBA. That’s how his situation is very different from Vogel, who’s a lifetime NBA guy. He worked his way up from the video room to an assistant coaching role. Regardless of the differences, Vogel is completely confident in what Stevens can – and will – do.
“He’s going to have an adjustment period that as long as he’s surrounding himself with experienced NBA guys, it’ll be a smooth transition,” Vogel said. “Once you get into practices and games, it’s just basketball.”