ORLANDO, Fla. — Jacque Vaughn learned from some of the best coaches in basketball. He played for Roy Williams, Jerry Sloan, Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. He also apprenticed under Popovich as an assistant coach.
The Orlando Magic hope Vaughn produces the same results as his mentors.
Team officials hired the 37-year-old former NBA point guard as their new head coach on Saturday. Vaughn likely will face a difficult challenge. The Magic are expected to trade superstar Dwight Howard eventually, and that move could launch a long, arduous rebuilding process with Vaughn at its center.
"We really wanted to find a coach who embodies the type of culture and identity that we're trying to build here in Orlando," Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel.
"We feel that Jacque's toughness, humility and attention to detail personifies the types of values that will help define our program. We were just really impressed throughout the interview process with his presence and his intellect and his passion for preparation."
Most league insiders regard Vaughn as bright, hard-working and organized.
But, at the same time, those same insiders note that Vaughn brings just two seasons of coaching experience.
He ended his 12-year NBA playing career in 2009. A year later, the Spurs hired him as an assistant coach.
In San Antonio, Vaughn had the same duties as fellow assistant coaches Mike Budenholzer, Don Newman and Brett Brown. They scouted future opponents, helped run practices and had other responsibilities. Still, league rules allow only three assistant coaches on the bench during games, and Budenholzer, Newman and Brown — all longer-tenured — occupied those seats. Meanwhile, Vaughn sat directly behind the bench.
Hennigan conducted first-round interviews with five other candidates, including Golden State Warriors lead assistant coach Michael Malone and Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw.
Malone and Shaw have more experience than Vaughn. But Malone didn't advance into the next round of interviews, and Shaw either was told he no longer was being considered or took himself out of the running.
He played for the Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Magic and New Jersey Nets before he joined the Spurs. Vaughn appeared in all 20 of San Antonio's playoff games in 2007 as the Spurs won the NBA title.
Vaughn's career path mirrors that of Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson.
Johnson also played point guard and spent part of his career with the Spurs, playing for Popovich and winning a title with San Antonio in 1999.Popovich compared Vaughn to Johnson when Vaughn joined the Spurs' coaching staff.
"Jacque Vaughn is a star," Popovich said then, according to the San Antonio Express-News. "You can see the same qualities in him that you saw in Avery."
The Magic hope so.
HARPRING' TO HOST TWO CAMPS There is still time to register for Matt Harpring's 10th annual Back To Basics basketball camp.
The former Jazz player will host two camps in Murray for youths ages 7-15, including one that goes from Monday through Thursday with morning and afternoon sessions. The second camp takes place Aug. 6-9 (also two sessions).Comment on this story
Harpring oversees all of his camps along with a staff of helpers. The player-turned-broadcaster enjoys that personal interaction and helps youngsters learn proper basketball techniques while doing drills, playing games and having fun.
The cost is $165 for one session per camper and $150 for players who do multiple sessions or have campers in the same family.
The price includes an autograph picture with Harpring, a camp jersey, gifts, and chances to win awards and prizes.
The camps take place at The Park Center in Murray (202 E. Murray Park Ave.).