It’s safe to say Gregg Popovich is pleased with hiring Jacque Vaughn


Amidst the fun and joking of Spurs Media Day, the unofficial kick-off to the season, was the suggestion by Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich that the addition of Jacque Vaughn to the coaching staff was the biggest offseason move for San Antonio.

This season, the Spurs are off to a franchise-best start at 29-4 and look to have as much influence on the title chase as anyone. So before the Spurs took on the Denver Nuggets a few weeks ago, I asked Coach Pop for an update on Jacque Vaughn, the coach, and how he has helped this year’s team.

“He’s a very knowledgeable individual who has a wonderful ability to teach. The respect he engenders comes easily and in large quantities,” Coach Pop said. “So whenever you have somebody around that’s that gifted, it helps everybody raise their level.

“He’s a star in the making.”

Now if you’re keeping track, and I am, that’s twice Coach Pop has referred to Jacque Vaughn as a star.

It’s tough to really know where Vaughn has had the most impact on this year’s team, but we do know the Spurs are having one of their best offensive seasons in history. Some of this could attributed to Coach Vaughn.

While Gregg Popovich is always quick to credit those around him for the team’s success, it’s interesting to see just how much praise he has for Vaughn. Also, as Varner pointed out to me in a conversation, if Coach Pop was being truthful in that Vaughn could have had any role in on the coaching or front office staff that he wanted, it shows a lot that Vaughn chose a behind-the-bench coaching position.

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  • justin

    Maybe that’s because Pop envisions Vaughn as his likely successor when he decides to retire to the vineyard in a couple years…

    It makes more Spurs sense for the successor to come up internally from within the system, rather than bring in someone new.

    my two cents…

  • bigley

    And so, the ties between Spurs and the University of Kansas Basketball grows a little bit more.

  • Alix Babaie

    I am quite sure that every Spurs fan is absolutely beaming with the way the season has started! The Spurs are imposing their will offensively, improving their game from a defensive standpoint and never going into panic mode, no matter the score.

    In addition, the team is catching breaks this season that they were unable to claim the last few years (well, at least since the 07 NBA Title) with regards to health, catching teams on back to backs, bounces and buckets that seemed to go to the opposition and lastly, improving our front office.

    All of these things seemed to have come together and this is a huge reason for the team having the successful run that they are having.

    While talent, skill and preparation have a ton to do with it….a little luck does go a long way as well.

    Here’s to hoping that this magical ride continues all the way to its conclusion on the banks of our River Walk!


  • ITGuy

    I think PJ Carlisimo could be a great fit as head coach for the Spurs once the mighty Pop calls it quits.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • td4life

    the upside to all these coaches that come out of Pop’s staff is that one of them can someday replace him, maybe with coach Bud and others still holding prominent roles as assistants.

    i understand as much as anyone the breaks that we have gotten to start the season, but surely TradeTP and the like are starting to realize that the Spurs are the best-coached team in the NBA this season.

  • Ed

    I’m just happy Vaughn isn’t coming off the bench to kill the Spurs offense anymore. Coaching is probably the better profesion for him!

  • spurcase42

    I have thought for some time that the coach that will replace Pop will be Coach Bud. He has been with Pop the longest and knows the system the best. With him, there would be no need to replace the entire coaching staff like there would be if they bring someone in from outside. The players like and respect him. He is the first assistant. I think he has turned down jobs with other teams, don’t know if he has ever received a head coach offer. But if he is still here when Pop calls it quits, I hope he takes over.

  • Dead Man Walking

    @Alix Babaie: I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • SpursfanSteve

    And then once the JV eventually retires, Chris Quinn can take his spot!

    Introducing your 2025 Spurs Head Coach: Chris Quinn!

  • SG

    The Spurs still have ways to go to improve their game….that’s the scary part…Splitter, JA and Blair are still developing. Wait till March/April and you will see a different Duncan and McDyess too. Can’t wait!

  • BayAreaSpursFan

    Im with you SG, I see the Spurs improving their defensive game and strategy later in the season. If it happens it will be a great playoff season for the Spurs.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Ed

    I second your motion on Vaughn. Great high school and collegiate career- both on & off the court (national award winner as scholar athlete on both levels). Doesn’t get too much better than having a school basketball award co-named after you and your jersey number retired at Kansas. But he was exposed as a one-dimensional player in the NBA. I recall him starting one season with the Hawks missing his first 22 shots (Charles Barkley had a”Jacque Vaughn Watch” going on TNT). Is there a “succesion order” for the assistant coaches (barring them getting a shot coaching somewhere else)?

  • Flavor

    I bet Bud gets the position as soon as Popovich retires.

  • ITGuy

    I also think Bud would replace Pop.

  • rob

    This is a great follow up to the original story. One that makes any fan wonder just how intrumental Vaughn has become to the team’s early success.
    Hopefully he remains under the radar to other teams if his influence has been the main reason for the Spur’s offensive success or, be granted a deserving “long term” position on the team so as no other team can steal him away.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @IT guy
    “I think PJ Carlisimo could be a great fit as head coach for the Spurs once the mighty Pop calls it quits.”
    -Were you being sarcastic? Carlisimo is a horrible NBA head coach. Although he is a great assistant coach. He was instrumental in game planning and scouting teams during our title runs. But his ego and handling of players is proven to be extremely poor. Presti who was born and breed with the spurs tried him out in seattle to no avail. I would have no problem adding him as an assistant. But there is no chance in hell that I would want him as our head coach.

  • spursfanbayarea

    Jarron Collins released by clippers today. Would be a good guy to have on bench who we could use his 6 fouls against the big guys in the playoffs. Anyone else interested in picking him up for vets minimum?

  • DorieStreet

    Suprised Marc Stein put us #1 in his rankings but his commentary said it’s obvious who it should be. Next ESPN game on Fri Jan 14th vs. Mavs; it is the 40th game of the season– basically halfway. Starting Tue vs Knicks. 5 of the 7 are on the road: 3A- 1H- 2A- 1H (DAL game). Two road BTB in that stretch. If we end that night @ 34-6 with wins @ BOS plus sweeping Twolves & Bucks + 2-1 vs Mavs (Knicks, Pacers losses?), then it is no denying this team has a mojo working NBA nation cannot deny.

  • Steve L

    Jarron Collins available? How can the Spurs sign him and would they have to cut anyone in order to do so? The ONLY knock on the team is the lack of size/length and Collins would certainly help with that. Isn’t he still relatively young and somewhat athletic too?

  • DorieStreet

    @ spursfanbayarea-

    The Collins twins have underachieved since the ’98 Final Four in San Antonio. One didn’t help Utah in their finals runs; both are basically journeymen who never made a difference in all their stops in the league. Sactown FO blowing up that roster seems to be inevitable; Greene, Thompson, Whiteside-not just for this season but future longterm Spur to join our young guns post-Duncan?

  • Hobson13

    January 3rd, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    If we could get either Anthony Randolph or Jason Thompson without having to give up Blair or Hill, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d even be willing to give up next years 1st and MAYBE 2nd round pick to get one of these guys. Either one of these guys could be a very nice young big if given some time to work with Dyess, Duncan, and Pop for a season. They may not make a big impact this year (even though there is a chance they would) but they would certainly be good projects that had the potential to pay off nicely as soon as next year.

  • DarlingBryan

    it’ll be coach bud to replace pop. they owe it to him for not going to another team.

  • DarlingBryan

    coach bud is the next spurs coach. they owe it to coach bud for not going to another team.

  • DorieStreet


    If Randolph doesn’t get significant playing time Tuesday night -and through January- then the Knicks want to part with him-and it might be for a 2nd round pick only. Now that we started back with aquiring young college talent through the draft (Hill, Blair, Anderson) or scouting international leagues (Neal) since 2008, we need to keep it going in that direction. For a while we had no original Spurs on the roster other than 21, 20, & 9; it bodes well to use the draft well along with acquiring young players thru free agency.

  • Hassan

    We need a shot blocking big for the playoffs. Can we get Ben Wallace or Dalembert after the Trade Deadline if traded????

  • Zach R.

    I’d be really surprised if the next head coach of the Spurs wasn’t Coach Bud.

  • td4life

    I can’t root for the Spurs to acquire Thompson or Randolf. There are so many skinny, young, long, athletic guys that don’t add much to the NBA. Remember how good Frye and Villanueva looked in their first few seasons? I used to think Speights was gonna develop really well. I remember thinking Steven Hunter was gonna have a bright future and was a guy the Spurs should go after.

    These days I defer completely to Pop and RC on guys like that, until they endorse Thompson or Randolf I give them a vote of no confidence and pass.

    Aside from physical gifts a guy has to have the head and the heart to work hard and bring it every day and every night. I’m not looking at you Tim Thomas. At least Blair, Splitter, and even Bonner have the head and the heart. You know who didn’t? Samaki Walker. So we waved him and payed Malik.

    The FO expressed interest in the NBA’s youngest player D Favors, and therefor so do I! I think someday we can lure him to the perfect place for him to maximize his basketball success, especially if Pop stays on.

    Coach Bud may or may not be the successor to Popovich. It’s still a while away, so I know they don’t give it much thought. Holt wants Pop forever, and has indicated that he has no other solution on the matter. When the time comes, like anywhere else the GM will put together a list, and interview guys… there is no successor in the wings.

    I’d much rather drop one of the games to the Wolves or even the Bucks than to the Knicks. Knicks nation is almost as insufferable as laker nation. Eff them, and their effin’ media.

  • spursfanbayarea

    I do not expect collins to be a difference maker. I just like his size and ability to have someone we can use 6 fouls for. He would be one of the last players off the bench, but good to have when going against a shaq, or bynum. The collins brothers may have underachieved, but my expectations are not for them to be starters. Just to be able to play solid positional defense against the bigger players such as shaq, bynum, perkins, howard etc. Udoka and Quinn will not be in the playoff rotation so it would be advisable to have a big man who can play situational minutes. Kevin Willis played a similar role for us during one of our title runs.

  • rob
  • rob

    Though I agree with pursuing talent via draft and overseas, I also think it wise to not turn down an easy accessible player that could help the team now. Especially one that could fill a weak link on the roster.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Regarding the various suggestions for big man pickups:

    The Collins twins have been in the league for a very long time for a good reason: They’re big, they’re smart, they play defense, and they’re good locker room characters. They have some real limitations as players but are useful. I’m fine with Jarron as an addition and think he would fit the Spurs alright. But I don’t think it would make much difference and it would push the Spurs back toward being the kind of team they used to be (big, slow-paced, smart, efficient) as opposed to the kind of team they have become (medium-sized, fast-paced, smart, efficient).

    I see td4life’s point about Randolph and Thompson and there’s a lot to it. Randolph is an interesting case. He certainly has a range of talents. But energy and the drive to improve yourself are talents, too, and I don’t know whether he possesses them. He might. But Mike D’Antoni is a smart guy and if he’s not using Randolph, there’s a good reason. It might simply be a poor fit between player and coach or team, which happens. But the most important point to make about Randolph is that he still has quite a lot of trade value. The Knicks wouldn’t even trade him to the Spurs for a 1st-round pick. And they won’t trade him to anyone right now because Denver covets him, so he would be a big part of any possible trade for Carmelo Anthony. I would forget about Stromile Swift, er, I mean Tyrus Thomas, or is it Stanley Robinson, uh… Well you know who I mean! Whatever that name of that underachieving big guy from LSU is, I’d forget about him for a while.

    Jason Thompson might be an interesting fit. But I’m a lot happier with Tiago Splitter, who does more of what I’d want from a big man. So I don’t see a particular need to add Thompson, other than to provide a little depth, and his price tag again would be far too high for what he would provide.

    Just my $.02

  • mac

    Personally, I think the Spurs have some trouble getting minutes for Tiago Splitter, so idk what they’d do with a sixth bigman who is young and needs to develop. Collins wouldn’t improve the Spurs chances meaningfully by joining in late anymore than Glen Robinson did. The only change that interests me is trading 2 or 3 guys for an obvious upgrade to the top of the roster, which is not likely.

  • Ed

    Splitter will come along in the 2nd half. Pop just wnated to make sure he wasn’t over-worked coming off a full Euro season and Int’l ball.