The Brooklyn Nets named Jacque Vaughn their head coach on Wednesday, quashing reports that the franchise planned to hire suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka as Steve Nash’s replacement.
Vaughn, a Nets assistant since 2016, was named acting head coach after the Nets parted ways with Nash following a 2-5 start and amid franchise chaos that included Kyrie Irving’s promotion of a “documentary” filled with antisemitic information and fabrications.
Vaughn was previously a Nets interim head coach in 2020 and was head coach for the Orlando Magic for two-plus seasons from 2012-2015.
“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,” Nets 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.”
The Nets are 2-2 since Vaughn took over for Nash and play the New York Knicks on Wednesday in Brooklyn.
Udoka was immediately identified as Nash’s likely successor, but that news fell flat among media and fans who wondered why the Nets would be so quick to hire a coach who was suspended by the Celtics on Sept. 22 for “violations of team policies.” While the Celtics didn’t specify what those violations were, several outlets, including USA TODAY, reported Udoka had an inappropriate relationship with a team staffer, and ESPN reported Udoka used crude language with staffer before the start of the relationship.
As the Nets continued to explore their coaching situation, they moved from Udoka and settled on Vaughn, a former college star who spent 12 seasons in the NBA as a player and has coached in the league since 2010, starting as an assistant with San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich.