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Brad Stevens Hired as Celtics Head Coach

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

In a surprise move, the Boston Celtics pries away one of college basketball’s top coaches from Butler.

Brad Stevens Hired as Celtics Head Coach

In this article…

Brad Stevens is going to be the new head coach of the Boston Celtics.

Wow. I did not see that coming.

The terms of the deal weren't announced, but the team announced the hire today. I would assume that whatever this deal is, it had to be pretty hefty to lure Stevens away from the situation he had with the Butler Bulldogs.

Stevens, 36, was widely respected as one of the top coaches in college basketball. He was able to do more at a mid-major than most coaches are able to do at big schools. In his six years as head coach, Stevens amassed a record of 166-49 (.772 winning percentage). His teams made the NCAA tournament in five of those six seasons and guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship game appearances in '09-'10 and '10-'11. The job he did at Butler was truly remarkable.

It's still hard for me to imagine him coaching an NBA team for some reason. Part of that is his youth, but Erik Spoelstra proved that you don't have to be an older coach to still command respect in the locker room and on the sidelines. Part of that is my naive belief that Stevens wasn't leaving Butler for a very long time. 

But any initial doubts will quickly vanish. He was successful at Butler for a variety of reasons. For starters, he is an excellent coach. Stevens is a great strategist, makes tremendous adjustments and just really knows what he's doing. His demeanor almost reminds me of Gregg Popovich before he had the fun sucked out of him. He's very even-keeled. Nothing good or bad truly fazes him, which is a quality that is tremendous to have as a coach. That alone inspires confidence. Just look at how calmly he reacts after this game-winner from last year:

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No sweat. And because of those previous qualities, he has no trouble leading his players out on the court. He knows what to do to have them prepared, and the players respect that. This is a terrific hire for the Boston Celtics. If you are starting over, like the Celtics are, you want to put the right person in place to ensure that future success. Stevens is certainly the type of coach that can help the Celtics, and something tells me the administration is going to be more patient with him than other franchises are with their first-year coaches. This isn't going to be a quick fix. But Stevens is a terrific foundation to help start the next era in Boston basketball.

And, to repeat, I really did not see this coming.

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