INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers players want interim coach Frank Vogel to get the full-time gig.
Now, it's up to team president Larry Bird to make a decision.
Indiana Pacers players said Thursday they want Frank Vogel to return as coach next season.
It's been more than a month since the team's season ended and the waiting game continues.
"I'll be happy if Frank gets picked," said center Roy Hibbert before playing in a charity softball game for the Indiana Children's Wish Fund. "I've been with him since I was a rookie, so I hope he gets it. I understand that Larry's taking his time now, but I'm pulling for (Vogel)."
Bird has called Vogel the favorite from the beginning of the search, and the team has had several conversations with him. He took over for Jim O'Brien at midseason, went 20-18 to close the regular season and led the team to its first playoff berth since 2006.
"I think Frank did an excellent job, stepping in without the experience of a head coaching job," Bird said after the season ended. "The way he conducted himself, he brought positive energy to this team. We won more games than we lost. We did it with a young team, a team that's trying to grow."
Early in his tenure, Vogel claimed that Eastern Conference powers Boston, Miami and Orlando wouldn't want to play the Pacers when -- not if -- they made the playoffs. He introduced "smashmouth" basketball, an approach that focused on attacking the basket instead of O'Brien's perimeter-oriented game. He moved Tyler Hansbrough, a second-year player, and Paul George, a rookie, into the starting lineup and helped restore Hibbert's confidence.
It all helped them get into the playoffs and compete well before losing 4-1 to the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.
"I really feel strong about having Vogel around," George said. "I love him as a coach, as a person. But I have no control over it. I have to just go with whatever Mr. Bird goes with."
Vogel said as the season ended that he wanted the job and said with confidence that he feels he proved himself. He didn't expect a decision to be made quickly.
"It's really up to Larry and the front office," Vogel said. "Anytime you're making a decision as important as this, you never want to rush into it. Whatever timetable they decide is fine with me."
Indiana was interested in Mike Brown, but the former Pacers assistant and Cleveland head coach took the job as Los Angeles Lakers head coach. But the players have favored Vogel since he took over.
"I would like to see Frank get it," guard Lance Stephenson said. "He helped us out this year. He made us come in more as a group. I hope Larry Bird sees what happened and we can move forward."
George would like to see a decision made soon.
"It's still up in the air for me," he said. "It's something that I want to know, but it's something I have no control over."