A fellow New Jersey native, Frank Vogel loved basketball from an early age. Surprisingly, he had his first taste of success after appearing on Late Night With David Letterman because he managed to spin a basketball on his toothbrush as he brushed his teeth. It was an impressive feat and an early sign that Vogel would grow up constantly trying to challenge himself with bigger innovations with a basketball. While he graduated from Wildwood High School, Vogel didn’t turn any heads of Division I scouts, so he opted to play Division III at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
Midway through his college career, Frank Vogel decided to make the leap and transfer to the University of Kentucky. Although he didn’t make the team, he began to work as the student manager, getting his first taste of the action off the basketball court. When the junior varsity team at Kentucky was brought back, Vogel jumped at the opportunity to play again and he decided to join the team. Although he had started at Juniata in 1991, he didn’t graduate from Kentucky until 1998 when he finished with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology.
After finishing college, Frank Vogel secured a position with Boston Celtics as a “head video coordinator”. His former coach at the University of Kentucky, Rick Pitino, was the head coach for Boston at the time, but he left to return to the NCAA in 2001. However, Vogel remained at the job and worked hard for five years until finally earning a promotion to assistant coach. While he started his career in Boston, he was moving on up the ladder and Vogel was soon asked to take an assistant position with the Philadelphia 76ers. He would spend the next few years jumping around: one year in Philly, another as an advanced scout for the Los Angeles Lakers, and one more with the Washington Wizards. It wasn’t until 2007 would he find a stable position within an organization when he joined the Indiana Pacers. Vogel would work as an assistant once again for another four years before Indiana decided to give him his first real shot as a head coach.
Under his tutelage, Frank Vogel turned the Pacers team around. He would be the head coach of the organization for five years and would lead them to the playoffs four out of the five seasons. In fact, in the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons, Vogel actually led the Pacers to Central Division Titles, a feat the team hadn’t accomplished for nine years. Sadly his team became ravaged by injury and Vogel was left the unfortunate job of restoring a broken roster midseason in the 2015-2016 season. Despite performing admirably, he saw his time with the Pacers come for a close after a loss in the first round of the playoffs and the organization’s desire to test out new leadership.
While he had to leave behind a team he loved, Frank Vogel was immediately snapped up by the Orlando Magic who also were looking for a new voice to be in charge. Vogel got right down to work, looking for ways to rebuild the team, as well as instill his players with newfound confidence. While the Magic’s season hasn’t been perfect, Vogel seems to be making improvements every week alongside an incredibly young team. His focus on building a stronger defense will undoubtedly be one of the best things for the future of this franchise. With some bold moves that he’s made this season, such as the most recent benching of Elfrid Payton, Frank Vogel may just be the voice that Orlando has been looking for.