Magic Hire Former Jayhawk Vaughn as Head Coach

July 28, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – The Magic’s latest makeover continues to have a youthful feel.

Orlando announced the hiring of Jacque Vaughn, 37, as its next head coach on Saturday, bringing the latest 30-something member to a basketball operations department following the hiring of 30-year-old general manager Rob Hennigan last month. He will be formally introduced at a news conference on Monday.

Vaughn SI Cover

Vaughn 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.”

Hennigan chose Vaughn from a finalists’ pool that included Phoenix Suns development coach Lindsey Hunter and former Detroit Pistons head coach and current Philadelphia 76ers assistant Michael Curry.

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.

A four-year letterman at KU from 1994-97, Vaughn was the 1996 Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and a two-time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American. In 1997 he was named the Academic All-American of the Year and was the recipient of the NCAA’s Arthur Ashe Jr. Scholar-Athlete Award.

While at KU, Vaughn recorded 18 games with 10-plus assists and he ranks second on the school’s career assists list with 804. Scoring a KU career 1,207 points, Vaughn was a two-time All-Big Eight First Team selection in 1996 and 1997 and received All-America Second-Team accolades following his senior season. For his work on and off the court, Vaughn’s jersey No. 11 was retired from KU in December 2002.