by Kent Sterling
The air of regality with which many coaches cloak themselves is absent from Frank Vogel’s demeanor. He’s a nice guy who works diligently to put his team in a position to win.
That’s what great coaches and managers in business do. They concentrate their focus upon helping players as individuals reach their potential, and motivate a coalescence of the parts to form a successful collective. They hold players accountable, and honestly communicate expectations to players. That’s leadership, and that is what Frank Vogel provides.
Fans like outrage that mirrors their own. They like overt displays of displeasure so it’s clear to even the dopiest of us that the coach understands that something must change. Press conferences with fire and brimstone displays of ill-temper make fans feel better. Calm doesn’t sell papers or bond fans to coaches.
Those outbursts of anger do nothing to improve play, but it enforces the belief that the coach is large and in charge.
Former NFL coach Dick Vermeil has seven principles of great leadership:
1. MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW YOU CARE ABOUT THEM
2. BE A GOOD EXAMPLE
3. CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE THAT PEOPLE ENJOY WORKING IN
4. DEFINE, DELEGATE, THEN LEAD
5. BRING ENERGY TO THE WORKPLACE
6. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AS YOU IMPLEMENT YOUR PROCESS, VISION AND VALUE SYSTEM
7. ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY BY BEING SINCERE, BELIEVABLE, AND TRUSTWORTHY
I’m not around Vogel everyday, and only get to see the portions of practice that are open to the media, but Vogel appears to be a leader who embraces Vermeil’s principles.
The only two reasons to replace a coach are because it becomes obvious that a replacement can squeeze a higher level of effort and execution out of the players, and because fans need to be convinced (duped) of an attitudinal reboot that will energize ticket sales.
No one at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is complaining about ticket sales, and where is the coach who can get more out of the current roster than Vogel?
Vogel isn’t slick, a media whore, or an outraged disciplinarian. He’s cares about his players, grinds throughout the season in the same way he asks his players to, and (not coincidentally) he wins.
For those who see a change in the offing if the Pacers lose this series, I would be interested in your ideas for coaches. Mark Jackson (if he’s spiked at Golden State), George Karl, Nate McMillan, P.J. Carlesimo? Given those options, I stick with Vogel.
Do the Pacers want to be a franchise that changes course at the first sign of adversity, or will they stick it out with Vogel – if the Pacers lose in the first or second round?