Frank Vogel: Three moments that defined his time as Pacers head coach

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The Indiana Pacers today decided to part company with Frank Vogel after five years as head coach. 

Vogel spent nine years with the Pacers, having joined the franchise as an assistant in 2007 and been promoted in 2011. 

Despite never picking up a ring during his time at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, he oversaw a great period of success for the organisation as they fought against the most dominant player the Eastern Conference has seen since the days of MJ in LeBron James. 

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The 42-year-old will be fondly remembered in Indianapolis and president Larry Bird has reiterated his stance of having nothing but respect for the departed coach. But that is the nature of sport, sometimes it is just time for something new.

After coming so close, yet ending up so far away from true glory, GiveMeSport looks at the three biggest moments that defined Vogel's time on the pine. 


The second instalment of their three-year battle with the Miami Heat saw the two franchises do battle in the Conference Finals. 

After the disappointment of the previous year where Miami had recovered from 2-1 down to send the Pacers home in the semi-finals, Frank Vogel and his team were out to get revenge. 

The series was a thriller as it swung back and forth. The Heat advanced to the Finals with a game seven blowout win, but the whole outcome of their season could have been so different was it not for one misplaced pass. 

Game one went down to the wire as the South Beach franchise won by a point following a Paul George airball in overtime. However, with time running down in the fourth quarter, the Pacers missed the chance to strike a hammer blow.

With two seconds difference between the shot and game clocks and Indiana down by two, George looked for the outlet pass to George Hill on the perimeter but threw it out of bounds. 

PG13 did take the game to OT with a three, but how things could have been different. 


After a campaign that had seen George lead the Pacers to their second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals and be named an All-Star for the second time, a member of the All-Defensive First Team and selected to the All-NBA Third Team, 2014-15 was expected to be an MVP-style season for the forward.

However, tragedy struck in the offseason while George was with Team USA. He was a virtual lock for a spot on the roster but during an intrasquad scrimmage he suffered a gruesome right leg fracture, that left some players in tears, after landing awkwardly at the base of a basketball stanchion. 

The injury required immediate surgery and sent shockwaves through the Pacers organisation as the reality set in that they had lost their franchise player for the majority of the year. 

Indiana limped to ninth in the east without PG13 and missed out on the playoffs for the first time in five years. He returned in April and made six appearances to assist his preparations for the following campaign.

George showed his importance by leading the Pacers back to the playoffs in 2016 and being named an All-Star for the third time. 


George's return saw the Pacers qualify for the postseason after a year's sabbatical. The seventh seed were pitched against the notoriously uncertain Toronto Raptors in the opening round.

Having snatched game one in Canada, the franchises were still split after four. Game five saw the series swing mentally in Toronto's favour for the first time as the Pacers squandered a game-high 17-point lead and a 13-point advantage in the final quarter.

DeMar DeRozan dropped 34 for the Raptors in that game as they took the lead for the first time in the series. Game seven, well that was the final nail in Vogel's coffin. 

While it was a nail-biting affair to the end, the Pacers' offensive issues plagued them once again as they mustered just 84 points. 

As Larry Bird said: "You can’t go very far in the playoffs if you don’t score."

Paul George
Indiana Pacers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
George Hill

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