Vogel began his career as the head video coordinator for the Boston Celtics under head coach Rick Pitino. He retained that position for five years before being promoted to assistant coach. After coaching with Boston, Vogel went on to become an assistant for the Philadelphia 76ers. Vogel left the 76ers to become an advance scout for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2005–2006 and the Washington Wizards from 2006-2007. Vogel then became an assistant for the Indiana Pacers under former Celtics colleague Jim O'Brien. In 2011, after O'Brien was fired from his head coaching position, Vogel was named interim coach. As interim coach, Vogel led the Pacers to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Vogel was officially named as the Pacers' head coach on July 6, 2011.
Shortly before the Indiana Pacers were to take on the Miami Heat in the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals, Vogel criticized his opponents for alleged flopping: "They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA. It'll be very interesting (to see) how the referees officiate the series and how much flopping they reward... Every drive to the basket, they have guys not making a play on the ball, but sliding in front of drivers. Oftentimes they're falling down even before contact is even being made. It'll be interesting to see how the series is officiated." He was fined $15,000 by the league for these remarks.
On April 7, 2013, the Pacers clinched their first Central Division title since the 2003–04 season. They finished the 2012–13 season with a 49–32 record, clinching the third seed in the Eastern Conference. After defeating both the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks in 6 games, the Pacers went on to face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. In Game 1, the Pacers were defeated by the Heat 103–102 in overtime after LeBron James drove by Paul George for a wide-open layup with 2.2 seconds left on the clock. Vogel was roundly criticized for leaving the Pacers' primary defender, Roy Hibbert, on the bench during the final play. Vogel said that he made that decision out of concern of Chris Bosh and acknowledged that he might do it differently next time. The Pacers were later eliminated after losing the series in 7 games.