Doc Rivers could have been just another former player that failed to succeed as a head coach, especially in a city as tough as Boston. Instead, he led the Celtics to their first world championship since 1986 in the course of his tenure. Needless to say, 2013 is the beginning of an entirely new chapter for the Celtics.
After coaching boston for nearly a decade, Rivers decided to bounce to L.A. last week to coach the Clippers. Celtics President Danny Ainge didn’t waste anytime making a new hire — although it’s sure to surprise a lot of fans.
The team and the university made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. He will be introduced at a news conference on Friday morning.
“Brad and I share a lot of the same values,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “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 toward Banner 18.”
Stevens, who led Butler to two consecutive appearances in the NCAA championship game, had extended his contract with the Bulldogs through 2021-22.
“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.
This hire is very surprising from both ends of the spectrum. First, the Celtics are hiring their first college coach with no pro experience since Rick Pitino out of Kentucky in 1997. Pitino went an under-whelming 102-146 in his three and a half years at Boston, further solidfaying the theory that college coaches can’t cut it in the NBA.
On the other hand, Stevens is a coach everyone had thought was untouchable. He’s led the Butler Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA tournament championships and has turned down a number of offers to move to bigger programs since then. His 166 wins are the most in history for an NCAA Division I coach over the first six years of his career — we’re talking a .772 winning percentage. When he first started, the ‘Dogs were in the Horizon conference — now, this upcoming 2013-’14 season, Butler is moving into the new and improved Big East, all because of Steven’s leadership.
In short, no one thought Stevens would leave his beloved kingdom he had built in Indy. He was supposed to be our generation’s “Wizard of Westwood.” He even participated in this cute video that was released this week!
Stevens will have quite the challenge on his hands. The pro game is a lot different than the college ranks, especially considering he is only 36-years-old, which would make him five months younger than Kevin Garnett, who was on last year’s roster. However, if I’m a Celtics fan, I’m very excited about this hire.