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Nets announce former KU star Jacque Vaughn as head coach, remove interim tag

Nets Hornets Basketball
Posted at 1:15 PM, Nov 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-09 14:15:29-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jacque Vaughn, a former University of Kansas men’s basketball star, has been hired as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, the team announced Wednesday.

Vaughn became interim coach Nov. 1 when the Nets fired Steve Nash after a 2-5 start.

“Jacque’s basketball acumen, competitiveness and intimate knowledge of our team and organization make him the clear-cut best person to lead our group moving forward,” Brooklyn General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “He has a proven ability to get the best out of our players, hold them accountable and play a cohesive, team-first style of basketball.”

Brooklyn — which has been mired in controversy since building a super team with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden — made the move permanent less than a week later.

Vaughn inherits a talented, but underperforming, roster, which finished as the No. 7 seed last season then got swept by Boston from the playoffs.

Harden had been shipped to Philadelphia in a midseason swap last year, which netted oft-injured and enigmatic star Ben Simmons in return.

Irving missed most of last season after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and, more recently, courted controversy by promoting a documentary with anti-semitic views on social media.

Durant demanded a trade during the summer, in part, because he wanted Nash gone. Brooklyn tried to trade him, but the Nets never pulled the trigger on a deal.

Under Vaughn, Brooklyn is 2-2 since Nash’s firing after back-to-back wins against Washington and Charlotte.

He has spent the previous seven seasons as an assistant on the Nets staff, including a 7-3 stint as interim coach three seasons ago.

Vaughn — who played 12 NBA seasons with Utah, Atlanta, Orlando, Brooklyn and San Antonio from 1997 to 2009 — also spent parts of three seasons as Orlando’s head coach, going 58-158 before he was fired midway through the 2014-15 season.

He won an NBA title with the Spurs in 2007.

During his Jayhawks career, Vaughn was a two-time second-team All-America selection and won Big Eight Player of the Year in 1996.

KU retired Vaughn’s No. 11 jersey in 2002.