The Indiana Pacers’ search for a new head coach ended Monday with the promotion of assistant coach Nate McMillan to the top job.
McMillan has spent the last three seasons on the bench as lead assistant to head coach Frank Vogel. But unhappy Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird chose not to renew Vogel’s contract after five modestly successful seasons.
Bird wanted to go with a new voice but chose familiar one in McMillan for a reportedly three-year deal with no options.
McMillan, 51, brings solid NBA head coaching credentials to the Pacers following a 12-year career with Portland and Seattle, guiding the clubs to a combined 478-452 mark.
“I truly believe Nate is the right coach for us at this time,” Bird said. “When I heard he was interested, I got in touch with him, met him and in our conversation I came away with all the confidence in the world in Nate to lead our franchise where we want to go.
McMillan played for Seattle for 12 years before becoming a coach, and Bird said that experience coupled with his time as a coach were “valuable assets for us.”
McMillan said he was excited for the opportunity to return as a NBA head coach for the third time.
“I wasn’t chasing this coaching opportunity; it had to be the right one for me,” he said. “I’ve been around this franchise three years and understand what the expectations are and look forward to working hard to try to meet them.
“We have a good team and good base to build from. I’m very anxious to get started.”
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