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Vogel won't return as Pacers' coach

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Posted at 11:32 AM, May 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 10:47:27-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- After five-and-a-half years leading the Indiana Pacers, Frank Vogel is out as head coach.

Pacers Team President Larry Bird announced the decision to not retain Vogel, whose contract was up after the 2015-16 season, in a press conference Thursday morning.

"I've decided it's time for a new voice around here," Bird said. "Sometimes my job really sucks. ... This is one of the toughest things I've done."

Vogel released a statement thanking the Simon family, Larry Bird and the Pacers organization:

This is one of the top-flight organizations in the National Basketball Association and I truly enjoyed every minute I spent as a leader of this group of men. During my time with the Pacers, we made a lot of positive memories and none of that would have been possible without the support of Larry, the front office and all of the players I had the opportunity to coach. We constantly battled through thick and think, and that is something that I am very proud of.

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Bird said the main reason for making the change wasn't anything to do with Vogel's performance, it was just time for a new voice for the players.

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Vogel has a 250-181 record with the Pacers (.580 winning percentage) in the regular season, and 28-26 record in the playoffs.

"[Vogel] didn't lose the locker room, I think at times players just don't listen," Bird said. "After a certain number of years, it's time to make a move. All I think about it what's best for the franchise."

He said he was looking for a new voice and new strategy with the new coach.

Bird said when he told him, Vogel tried to talk him out of it. 

"He kept bringing it up, saying 'Can we delay the news conference and start all over again?'" Bird said.

When asked about wanting a new coach to play a certain style, Bird said he'd like the team to score more points.

Bird said he has been thinking about making the change since the All-Star Break, but said he never considered making a move during the season. 

"[Vogel] deserved the chance to finish it out," Bird said.

Bird isn't necessarily looking for a head coach with previous NBA head coaching experience -- he's just looking for how players would listen.

Right now, it's a complete unknown who the next coach will be, but Bird said there will be a lot of people clamoring for the job. 

"There's a lot of people who want this job," Bird said. "I know why. It's a good place to live, we have good schools, good doctors, good hospitals, good people -- we're Hoosiers. Other than today, we usually treat people pretty good."