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Monday, November 20, 2017

George Hill: Pacers’ handling of Frank Vogel ‘unfair’

Frank Vogel

Frank Vogel made the playoffs in five of his six seasons as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and many believed the team made a mistake by firing him. George Hill, who played for Vogel for five seasons, is among those people.

On Monday, Vogel will return to Indiana for the first time since he was let go when his Orlando Magic take on the Pacers. Hill, now with the Utah Jazz, expects his former coach to have mixed emotions.

“For him at the moment, his heart is probably burning,” Hill said, per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “Just the way that the organization treated him towards his exit was very unfair. I think the guy did a phenomenal job. I think he deserved a little bit more respect than what he got. But that’s how they handled it. Vogel took it like a man and moved on. I’m just happy that he had another opportunity to come in and change another program around.”

The Pacers and Magic are both 4-6, so it’s far too early to tell if the right decision was made. Vogel expects the return to be an “emotional” one.

“I’m sure it’ll be emotional,” he said. “[I have] a lot of strong ties there still, a lot of great memories. It’s endless. [I spent] nine years there. My daughters were basically raised there. I became a head coach in the NBA there. Some of my best basketball moments of my life were coaching the Pacers.”

The Pacers obviously believed Vogel could not get them over the hump after the team finished 45-37 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Time will tell if Nate McMillan can do a better job.

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