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All head coaches face challenges in their first season on the job, but the Orlando Magic's Jacque Vaughn has an additional complication to deal with: the 37-year-old has taken over a team just starting to rebuild: the Magic traded superstar center Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers just 13 days after hiring Vaughn over finalists Michael Curry and Lindsey Hunter.
When asked if the Magic's being in a rebuild bothered him, Vaughn said no. "I look at it as being sustainable," he said. The 12-year NBA veteran went on to describe "Being competitive every single year and having a sustainable product that people want to see year in and year out" as "the most important thing for us going forward."
Before determining Vaughn, Hunter, and Curry would be finalists for Orlando's head-coaching vacancy, general manager Rob Hennigan is rumored to have had an interest in higher-profile candidates like former Magic point guard Brian Shaw and Mike Malone. Vaughn's hire raised some eyebrows around the league, but he's not sweating that much.
"I think it’s really a lesson in life of just doing your job every day," Vaughn told WYGM. "That was my approach as an assistant coach." Upon his retirement following the 2008/09 season, Vaughn joined the San Antonio Spurs' staff as an assistant.
Vaughn and Hennigan are but a few fresh faces in the Magic organization. Also new are Scott Perry, Matt Lloyd, and Harold Ellis, who will work with Hennigan in the front office. The new players Orlando has added in this summer of change are Arron Afflalo, Gustavo Ayón, Christian Eyenga, Maurice Harkless, Al Harrington, Josh McRoberts, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O'Quinn, and Nikola Vučević.
The Magic are getting a fresh start, and Vaughn's happy to be part of it. "I have been given this opportunity and I definitely appreciate it," he said.