Stevens 'thrilled,' 'humbled' to coach Celtics
The Boston Celtics introduced Brad Stevens as their new coach Friday at a press conference at the team’s training center in Waltham, Mass.
Stevens is the 17th head coach in the franchise’s history.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and members of the team’s ownership group were also present.
“One of the things that I am so thrilled about is working at a place that has such high standards and places such a value on culture,” Stevens said.
He added that he is “absolutely humbled” by the chance to coach the Celtics.
Stevens spent six years at mid-major Butler and guided it to consecutive NCAA title games in 2010 and ’11. He won at least 22 games each year.
Now, he has the task of coaching a rebuilt roster in Boston that dealt away veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry and traded nine-year coach Doc Rivers.
Point guard Rajon Rondo is the lone star of the team under new coach Stevens. Rondo is known as a headstrong player but is open to working with Stevens, according to the Boston Globe.
Stevens said he is looking forward to working with Rondo. The two have already spoken over the phone and Stevens plans to meet with him soon.
“There is no bigger fan of Rajon Rondo than me,” he said.
Ainge said that Stevens was at the top of his list of candidates to take the coaching job.
“Brad was my first choice,” he said. “I have watched and admired his poise, his intelligence, his teams, their effort, their execution under pressure. I’ve always looked at him the last few years as a guy that was a great candidate to be a head coach, never really thinking it was going to be this soon in Celtics history but is a guy that I have targeted for a long time as a potential great head coach.”
Stevens, 36, is the youngest coach in the league. His deal is six years and $22 million, according to ESPN. His hire was reported on Wednesday.
“We all know what we are about to embark on and he will have great support from ownership and from management,” Ainge said. “Yes, there will be transition from the college game to the NBA game, but we will give him the support that he needs to make that transition fast. He’s a very smart guy.”
The Celtics last won an NBA championship in 2008, their 17th overall. They reached the finals in 2010 but are in rebuilding mode after the roster aged and were ousted early in this year’s playoffs.