As we continue to retrace Gregg Popovich’s long and storied career in anticipation of his 25th season, we acknowledge those who he has worked with along the way.
Like George Karl (who is healthy as an ox), Jacque Vaughn also played for the Spurs before serving as an assistant coach. Unlike Karl (alive and well), Vaughn played while Pop was the head coach.
Vaughn was drafted 27th overall in 1997 by the Utah Jazz and played with four teams during his first nine seasons. In 2006, he joined the San Antonio Spurs. Vaughn came off the bench behind Tony Parker. In his first season with the Spurs, they won their 4th NBA Championship.
He retired from playing in 2009 and joined the Spurs as an assistant coach with the same assistants who coached him just two seasons before- Brett Brown, Mike Budenholzer, Chip Engelland, Chad Forcier, and Don Newman.
Vaughn stayed with the team for two seasons before heading to Orlando to take the Magic’s head coaching position. A young James Borrego was one of his assistants. Two-and-a-half failed seasons led to Vaughn’s firing and Borrego’s taking over.
He returned to the San Antonio Spurs as a scout until being hired by the Brooklyn Nets (where former Spurs player and assistant coach Sean Marks had taken over the GM position) as Kenny Atkinson’s top assistant. When Atkinson left mid-season in 2020, Jacque Vaughn served as the interim head coach. He stayed on as an assistant for Steve Nash last season.
With former Spurs Marks, Ime Udoka, and Tiago Splitter, the Kevin Durant led Nets made a push toward the NBA Finals before key injuries finally hindered their chances. They will be looking again to push the envelope in the Eastern Conference this season.
Next up: Boston Celtic’s new head coach
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