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Almost immediately after the Brooklyn Nets parted ways with head coach Steve Nash last week, suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka arose as the most likely replacement. From a strict basketball perspective, Udoka would’ve been the best choice. But considering the Nets are already drowning in a tidal wave of controversy thanks to Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn decided against bringing even more scandal into the building.

Instead, the Nets chose to remove the interim tag from Jacque Vaughn’s title and make him the full-time head coach. So, who exactly is Jacque Vaughn, and what should you know about him before he officially takes the reins?

Jacque Vaughn played 12 years in the NBA and won a title with the Spurs

Almost every NBA head coach played basketball competitively before taking their seat on the bench. In Vaughn’s case, he played at the highest level for 12 years.

Vaughn was a high school phenom growing up in Pasadena, Calif. He was ranked the No. 2 point guard in the 1993 class and participated in the McDonald’s All-American Game his senior year. He went on to play for four years at Kansas University, where he started 125 games and averaged 9.6 points and 6.4 assists.

Vaughn was selected 27th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Draft. He played for four years in Utah before finishing out his last eight seasons in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, and San Antonio Spurs.

Vaughn never averaged more than 6.6 points or 4.3 assists in a single season, but he did win a championship with the Spurs in 2007. The point guard came off the bench and played in every playoff game that year.

Vaughn has 12 years of coaching experience but hasn’t been a successful head coach

Jacque Vaughn talks with Kevin Durant.
Head coach Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets talks with Kevin Durant during a game | Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

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After retiring from the NBA in 2009, Vaughn quickly joined the coaching world by joining the Spurs as an assistant in 2010. He only needed two years with Gregg Popovich to showcase his coaching acumen, as he landed the head job with the Orlando Magic in 2012.

Vaughn spent two full seasons as the head coach of the Magic, but he was fired in the middle of the 2014-15 season after leading the team to a 58-158 record in two and a half years.

A year later, Vaughn joined the Nets as an assistant coach. He served as the interim head coach for 10 games in 2019-20 after Kenny Atkinson’s firing, and the team went 7-3 with him at the helm. Vaughn has remained with the team ever since, and he’s finally been rewarded with the full-time head coaching job. His deal runs through the 2023-24 season.

Vaughn is 47 years old, has been with the Nets since 2016, and has 226 games of experience as an NBA head coach. He’s gone just 65-161 in those games, so Brooklyn is hoping the results are a bit more successful this time around.

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