After Steve Nash’s exit from the Brooklyn Nets, the sports world was convinced that suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka was going to be his replacement. Although Udoka was ‘suspended’ from his head coaching position due to a consensual intimate relationship with a subordinate, not fired, it was reported that the Celtics had given the Nets permission to take Udoka off their hands.
But apparently, while still in the midst of the Kyrie Irving debacle, one controversial figure was enough for the team. On Wednesday, the Nets announced that Jacque Vaughn was their choice for head coach.
Vaughn, 47, is a former NBA point guard in his seventh season as the Nets’ assistant coach. Sean Marks, the team’s GM, said Vaughn was the right fit for the team. Per ESPN, Vaughn has been signed through the 2023-2024 season.
“Jacque’s basketball acumen, competitiveness and intimate knowledge of our team and organization make him the clear-cut best person to lead our group moving forward. He has a proven ability to get the best out of our players, hold them accountable and play a cohesive, team-first style of basketball,” Marks said in a statement.
Vaughn is a Pasadena, California native who played college ball at Kansas and spent twelve years in the NBA. He won a ring with the Spurs, then moved into the coaching ranks with the team. As head coach of the Orlando Magic from 2012-2015, he compiled a record of 58-158 for the rebuilding team.
Before the game, Vaughn said he had no hard feelings about being the Nets’ second choice.
“I guess I was the write-in candidate in the minds of elections right now,” he said. “But I’m OK with that. I said to my wife I might have not been her first choice, but we’ve been together 20 years so it could all work out, so off we go.”
Vaughn becomes the NBA’s 16th Black head coach, a new record. It seems he meets the approval of Nets superstar Kevin Durant, who reportedly called for Nash’s firing.
Durant presented Vaughn with the game ball after Wednesday night’s win over the New York Knicks.
“I am excited for him. I know about the work he puts in every day,” Durant said after the victory. “I know he cares about the development of each player and this team as a whole. I’m looking forward to playing for him.”