​Jacque Vaughn Becomes Orlando Magic’s New Basketball Coach

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July 29, 2012

Jacque VaughnJacque Vaughn, who will be formally introduced at a news conference on Monday, is the new 37-year-old basketball coach for the Orlando Magic team, following the hiring of 30-year-old general manager Rob Hennigan last month.

In fact, he becomes the 10th coach in team history and replaces Stan Van Gundy, who was fired on May 21 despite compiling a 259-135 regular-season record, franchise-best .657 winning percentage and a 31-28 playoff record.

“As we navigated through our coaching search, we quickly saw that Jacque’s spirit and leadership strengths made him the clear choice,” Hennigan said in a statement. “We are confident that his diligence, attention to detail and communication style will help establish the bedrock of our culture moving forward. His commitment and passion to building a sustainable program will help steer our organization for years to come.”

A 12-year NBA player before retiring in 2009 with San Antonio, Vaughn’s career included 80 games for the Magic in 2002-03. The former Kansas Jayhawks standout has never been an NBA head coach. But he has spent the past two seasons as an assistant at San Antonio, where he also won a championship as a player in 2007.

That is important because one of the qualities that both Hennigan and Magic CEO Alex Martins said the team was seeking in a successor to Van Gundy was a championship pedigree.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of the league’s top coaches and has multiple NBA titles. Vaughn also has played under the likes of Boston coach Doc Rivers, Cleveland coach Byron Scott — both who have titles as coaches or players — and former Utah coach Jerry Sloan.

Even before Vaughn was announced, the potential choice was receiving some criticism after Vaughn moved to a front-runner position.