Laker Profile: Frank VOgel
whatever.’ Rick just told (O’Brien) to take down my name, and
he said ‘Well if you decide to come, if we can help you in any
way, let us know.’ And that was enough.”
Once Vogel got in, he quickly developed a reputation that
he holds to this day as a relentlessly determined hard worker.
He applied that work ethic in the film room, since Kentucky
had the high-level video equipment that all the NBA teams
were using. Vogel learned from O’Brien – who told him the
skillset could become especially valuable for him if Pitino
went to the NBA someday – how to become an expert in the
film room, and that formed the basis of his coaching future.
“The film room teaches you how to do the job, how to
study the game, how to teach the game from film,” said Vogel.
“How to create an advantage for your team by knowing your
opponent, all their plays and tendencies.”
Sure enough, Pitino was hired by the Boston Celtics three
years later, in 2001, and guess who he brought with him as the
video coordinator? Sure, Vogel had found a way to get in with
Pitino with some ingenuity, but once he got there, he relied on
his work ethic to open the next door.
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“Who you know is how you get the opportunities, but
how hard you work and what you know and how good you
do at your job, that’s what leads to further opportunities,”
he summarized. “When I was at Kentucky, I never left the
basketball offices ever, I earned a reputation of being the
hardest worker in the program, and learned how to do the job.
That’s carried over even to now.”
That would continue over the course of the next 10 years,
as Vogel went from Boston to Philadelphia, and then Indiana,
“I was the workhorse of our staff both in Boston and in
Philly, and that ultimately led Jim O’Brien in Indiana to bump
me up to being the lead assistant,” he said.
“Work” may be the wrong way to describe it.
“When you’re able to find a job that is within your passion,
you’re never at work,” said Vogel. “It’s what you love to do.”
His strong connection with O’Brien was perhaps highlighted
the most in what could have been a rough moment, when
Indiana GM Larry Bird fired Vogel’s mentor in January of the
2010-11 season, and turned to his young assistant to take over.