Brad Stevens hired as new coach of Boston Celtics

1372890949000-USP-NCAA-Basketball-NCAA-Tournament-Butler-vs-Mar-1307031837_4_3_rx513_c680x510

After years of rampant speculation, Brad Stevens has made the jump.

And it’s not the one you thought.

The highly successful Butler University basketball coach has accepted the head coaching position with the Boston Celtics, the school and team announced.

Stevens, who won a Division I-record 166 games in his first six years at Butler, never won fewer than 22 in a season and led the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011. Though he has done nothing to stir the speculation, Stevens has been linked to numerous big-time college jobs over the previous few years, including Illinois and UCLA.

He had always ended up back at Butler. Until Wednesday.

“Our family is thrilled for the opportunity given to us by the leadership of the Boston Celtics, but it is emotional to leave a place that we have called home for the past 13 years,” Stevens said in a news release from Butler University.

“We truly love Butler University and Indianapolis and are very thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many wonderful things together. What makes Butler truly unique is the people that we have been so blessed to work with. When it comes time for our kids to look at schools, we will start with Butler University.”

 

Stevens will guide a rebuilding effort in Boston. The Celtics traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets last week, not long after allowing coach Doc Rivers to join the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a 2015 first-round pick.

The Celtics are a leader in analytical scouting, and Stevens fits that mold. He takes over a team headed by point guard Rajon Rondo and a younger core, including forwards Jeff Green and Brandon Bass. Celtics President Danny Ainge recently said he was not planning for any more big trades, as the team is content with its stripped-down roster.

“Brad and I share a lot of the same values,” Celtics President Danny Ainge said in a news release. “Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic. His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him towards banner 18.”

Stevens, 36, was the youngest coach to reach the Final Four since Bob Knight in 1973. Stevens obviously leaves a considerable void at Butler, which officially joined the Big East Conference on Monday.

“In keeping with The Butler Way, Brad has given his talent to our university with exceptional generosity, integrity and humility,” university President James Danko said. “His record as the winningest coach in NCAA history during his first six years as head coach, his leadership of Butler’s dual Final Four runs and his work ethic have made him a beloved member of our community.”

Added Danko, “We have done everything we can to keep Brad here at Butler. However, the Celtics team has offered Brad and his family a unique opportunity with which no university can compete.”

ESPN NBA analyst Jon Barry thinks the key to Stevens’ success in Boston will come down to his relationship with Rajon Rondo, the team’s mercurial point guard who missed much of last season with a knee injury.

“It certainly hasn’t turned out well for most recent college coaches who have made the jump to the NBA. We’ve seen one after another struggle,” Barry told USA TODAY Sports. “Boston is rebuilding, and it’s going to be a difficult transition. But they have a pretty good young group, and sometimes that has a lot to do with the hire. He’s probably going to get along well the players, and a lot of the players have been in college recently and know what Brad Stevens has done.

“But the big question is how does Rajon Rondo feel. If he’s not on board, it can create problems all the way down.”

The following two tabs change content below.
,