NEW YORK Frank Vogel was named head coach of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, about five months after he took over the struggling team on an interim basis and led them to a playoff berth.
Vogel, 38, replaced the fired Jim O'Brien on January 30 and helped the Pacers to a 20-18 finish to the National Basketball Association's regular season and their first playoff appearance since 2006.
Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird said Vogel, who joined the team as an assistant in 2007 when O'Brien was named the head coach, had been a favorite for the job from the start of the search for a replacement.
"I was in no hurry regarding the coach, mainly because I knew I had a good candidate in Frank," Bird said in a statement. "But we wanted to get through the draft and I wanted to have numerous conversations with Frank about a staff that will cover all areas."
Vogel said he believed the Pacers, who grabbed the final Eastern Conference playoff spot last season, could continue to show improvement.
"Our team last year finished strong with a positive playoff showing and it's something we all can definitely build on," he said.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)