Mark Jackson was ousted as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors earlier this month, but there’s a chance he returns to the sidelines soon.
Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird is considering Jackson as a replacement for head coach Frank Vogel, according to ESPN.com. Indiana executive Donnie Walsh also is a fan of Jackson, who they believe may have a stronger personality better suited for this team.
Yet there’s no escaping the fact that Vogel was awarded his current extension — which runs through the 2015-16 season — when team president Larry Bird was on a one-year hiatus. The fact Bird openly questioned Vogel’s player-friendly approach during the regular season has only added volume to the belief that Vogel’s seat is warming. That he’s not stern enough for Bird’s liking.
And there’s more.
The whispers have already started in Indy about Bird turning to his old point guard, Mark Jackson, to take over. Jackson and Reggie Miller were the leaders when Bird was the Pacers’ coach … and Bird isn’t the only big fan in the organization of the man Golden State just ousted. Fellow Pacers exec Donnie Walsh is another huge admirer who has long maintained privately that he wouldn’t consider Jackson for the Indy job unless he had coached somewhere else first.
But that’s a box Jackson obviously can check now.
At the start of the NBA playoffs, it was reported that Vogel was coaching for his job. Despite the fact Vogel led the team to a 56-win regular season and a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers were nearly knocked out in the opening round against the Atlanta Hawks. There were reportedly fights among the players, including Lance Stephenson and George Hill, and the notable 9-14 finish to the regular season. Then, of course, the fact that the organization doesn’t seem to like Vogel’s style of coaching.
Vogel has been the head coach of Indiana for 3.5 years, with a 167-100 record. He’s led the team to the playoffs each of the last four seasons, losing in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat the past two years.
Jackson played for Indiana from 1994-96 and 1997-2000, when Walsh was the general manager and Bird was the head coach. In three years at the helm of Golden State, Jackson accumulated a 121-109 mark with two postseason appearances. He was fired earlier this month and replaced by Steve Kerr.
Jackson could also be on the New York Knicks’ radar, but the Pacers job may be more attractive because the team is already a contender. Not only do Bird and Walsh have to make a decision on Vogel, but whether or not to re-sign Stephenson and perhaps deal with Hill and Roy Hibbert.