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Looking back at Pop’s opposing head coaches- Magic edition

Familiar names, ex-Spurs, and a couple of long-time NBA coaches have passed through Disney World

Orlando Magic v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

As mentioned previously, an article entitled “Pop’s Incredible Longevity” revealed that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has coached against 307 different NBA coaches during his twenty-eight year tenure at the helm.

Since the firing of Bob Hill in 1996, Pop has consistently coached the Spurs, give or take an ejection or two. Tonight the Spurs face off against the Orlando Magic.

The first head coach Pop faced was Brian Hill (1993-1997). In 1996, Hill and the Magic finished 60-22 but failed to claim the title. He was fired mid-season in 1997 after a player revolt was led by Penny Hardaway following the loss of Shaquille O’Neal during free agency.

Hill was replaced by Ritchie Adubato who split games against the Spurs winning on February 28 and losing on March 27.

Famed Detroit Bad Boy era coach Chuck Daly took the spot (1997-1999) before retiring from basketball permanently.

The Magic then hired Doc Rivers, who was named Coach of the Year after his first season. Rivers courted Tim Duncan in hopes of building a Big 3 with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill, but Doc’s policy of not allowing family members to travel on the team’s plane sent Big Fun back to San Antonio. His stint in Orlando (1999-2003) came to an abrupt end after a 1-10 start to the 2003-2004 season, leaving assistant Johnny Davis to finish out the season.

Davis started the 2004-2005 campaign, but left assistant Chris Jent to finish out the losing season.

Brian Hill returned from 2005-2007, but was fired after two seasons.

Stan Van Gundy (2007-2012) led the Magic to the playoffs in all five of his seasons, peaking in the 2009 NBA Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jacque Vaughn (2012-2015) came to Orlando fresh off two seasons as Pop’s assistant. Before that, he’d been a member of the Spurs for three season, most notably during the 2007 NBA Finals. He was fired during the third season after a 15-37 start. He returned to San Antonio as a scout for the Spurs.

His replacement, assistant James Borrego (2015) also had worked for Pop. From 2003-2010, Borrego served as assistant coach. He finished the season 10-20 and then moved to San Antonio to assist Popovich again.

Scott Skiles (2015-2016) had faced off with Pop for thirteen prior seasons in his time as head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks. Skiles, who had been selected by the Magic as part of the NBA expansion, left the team after once season stating he was “not the right head coach.”

After six seasons the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, Frank Vogel (2016-2018) made his way to Orlando, but was fired after only two seasons.

Steve Clifford (previously mentioned in the Hornets piece) served three season in Orlando between his stints in Charlotte.

Which brings us Jamahl Mosley, the current coach of the Orlando Magic. The thirteenth during the Pop era (counting Brian Hill once). Mosley and the Magic come in tonight just over .500 and 8th seeded in the Eastern Conference, so expect them to play hard for 48 minutes.

Go Spurs Go!


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