Frank Vogel will not be fired, but the Indiana Pacers asked him not to stay.
"Frank's not getting fired. His contract is up and I just made the decision not to renew it," Pacers president Larry Bird said at a press conference Thursday morning.
Vogel became head coach on an interim basis Jan. 30, 2011, replacing Jim O'Brien and was granted the full-time job July 6, 2011. Vogel compiled a 250-181 record, five NBA playoff appearances, two Central Division championships and two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Bird said Vogel asked repeatedly to be allowed to stay during a 30-minute conversation Thursday morning after they spoke previously on Wednesday.
"We know he'll be successful down the road and end up getting a job, but for us, I just feel it's time to move in a different direction," Bird said.
The belief from management was that Vogel lost his voice in the locker room. Bird ruled out former Boston Celtics teammate Kevin McHale and did not offer any other thoughts on specific coaches he is interested in hiring.
Bird said the Pacers will do what is necessary financially to get the right guy, but expectations are unchanged building around Paul George.
"I expect us to be better, and we will be," Bird said. "Paul coming off an injury and Myles (Turner) making strides, we should be better. What you add to that mix, the franchise is in good shape with some of the guys we have. I always expect greatness."
The Pacers plan to be aggressive in free agency, Bird said.
"We know through the grapevine some players who would like to come here and play," Bird said. "You can't talk to players this time of year, but you hear it. The new coach might have some ideas of players he'd like."
Though he has regular contact with George via text message and will discuss the process with the All-Star forward before it wraps up, Bird said didn't want to bother players with messages about what they want to see happen during the search.
"I think it's important to get someone they all respect," Bird said.