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The head coach of the Indiana Pacers is one of us

If I asked you where the Indiana Pacers’ head coach attended college, many of you would say, “Who coaches the Indiana Pacers?”

It’s okay. He isn’t exactly Phil Jackson or Pat Riley. Not yet, at least.

But so you know, his name is Frank Vogel and he attended the University of Kentucky after three years of D-III basketball. Vogel ran the point for Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania before deciding to transfer to Lexington for his senior season. The decision to move south came after meeting Rick Pitino, the man who would eventually become his mentor in life, at Five Star Basketball Camp in New Jersey.

Vogel immediately talked his way into a student manager position once he hit campus during the 1994-95 season. The next year, he roomed with Cameron Mills and played point guard for the famed Kentucky JV basketball team. Kentucky was pretty good that year, if you recall. Vogel could even take some credit for the ’96 success because he was responsible for washing those Converse denim uniforms after every game. How ’bout that for a claim to fame???

When Vogel graduated with a biology degree from UK just one month after Kentucky won its sixth title, Rick Pitino asked him to join the staff as the video coordinator for the 1996-97 season. When Rick left for Boston that summer, he took Vogel with him to fill the same role for the Celtics. From there, Vogel would follow Jim O’Brien around the NBA until O’Brien was fired from the Pacers last season, opening the door for Vogel to be named interim head coach to finish out the year. The Pacers earned a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2006 under his command.

Now, the interim tag is removed, head coach of the Indiana Pacers is his official job title and his team holds a 2-1 lead over the LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

But no matter how Indiana finishes in this NBA postseason, we’ll always know him for washing those Converse denim uniforms. His hands once handled the sweaty threads of Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Tony Delk, and Oliver Simmons. Those are the hands of a champion.

Go Pacers.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

11 Comments for The head coach of the Indiana Pacers is one of us



  1. Nathan
    10:40 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    The Pacers and Spurs are everything that is right about basketball. Teams that win as a TEAM. Share the ball. Execute on the defensive end. LOVE the fact that a wildcat is the head man for the Pacers. Go CATS!



  2. STB
    10:44 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    For the longest time I’ve had a signed poster of the 95-96 Championship team on my wall. When I was a kid, I got it signed by anyone that was willing to give me a signature at one of the JV games.

    A few of them I’ve looked at and said to myself, “Why did I get that person’s autograph and who are they?”

    I saw the Pacers signed head coach Frank Vogel and was thinking, “No way it’s the same Frank Vogel that signed my poster.”

    Sure enough, it was him. CRAZY!



  3. jbone
    10:46 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    As a lifelong fan of the Pacers anyway, I was unaware of this Pacer/UK connection. I will now hold Mr. Vogel in an even higher esteem and hope this post season success continues, though I hate it is at Pat Riley’s expense.



  4. Shampoo
    10:48 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    Well everyone always asks who would you want to come in and takeover for Cal if he left, Frank Vogel should most certainly get a phone call



  5. Blue Balls
    11:05 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    I can never cheer for a team that includes Tyler Hansbrough on its roster.



  6. GoCats2
    11:10 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    Every commenter here stole what I was going to say so I will go with this one…How did Oliver Simmons ever have sweaty threads unless the warm-ups he wore over his uniform was made of thick wool?



  7. bluefan
    11:33 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    Not cheering for ANY Indiana team ever! Go Thunder!!!!



  8. kentuckyjoe
    11:45 am May 18, 2012 Permalink

    Wow, who knew? And, it’s now official, I’m a fan of the Pacers.



  9. HOO HOO
    1:17 pm May 18, 2012 Permalink

    Pacers are doing to the Heat what the Hoosiers would be doing to UK from now until eternity. Cal got too scared and canceled the series. Probably better so he wouldn’t get embarrassed every season.

    #vac8



  10. Bledsoe's Biceps
    4:10 pm May 18, 2012 Permalink

    Good post. I learned something new.



  11. Ukfan_n_Cali
    2:13 am May 19, 2012 Permalink

    I knew Frank in college…he used to call me & a couple buddies for pickup games at Memorial Coliseum…thinking I should have kept in contact with him….great guy, good for him…