WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics introduced Brad Stevens as their new coach Friday at a press conference at the team’s training center.
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.
With the Celtics’ hiring of Stevens on Wednesday, the Sixers are the lone NBA team without a head coach. Part of that has to do with the draft and the Orlando Pro Summer League taking precedence over looking for a coach.
That was obvious Thursday, when 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, who was hired in May, wouldn’t give any insight regarding the coaching search.
“This is the time where we are in the middle of two-a-days right now for our summer league,” said Hinkie, following the Sixers’ morning practice at Central Florida. “This is the first of two practices. That process, I don’t have any particular updates for you.”
A Sixers team, made up of rookies and second-year players, is here preparing for the summer league, which runs Sunday through July 12 at the Amway Center practice gym.
Hinkie was asked if the Sixers began interviewing coaching candidates. He quickly changed the subject.
“Yeah, it’s the Fourth of July,” he said. “We are here just watching these kids practice.”
Hinkie spent his first 45 days on his new job preparing for the June 27 draft. There have been reports that the Sixers may not hire a coach until after the summer league. If so, that would be at least 86 days since Doug Collins resigned to become a team consultant on April 18.
The New York Daily News reported on draft night that the Sixers had decided to hire San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown, a former South Portland High School standout. The Spurs and Sixers both denied that report.
“Nothing of that substance happened, I can tell you,” Hinkie said after the draft. “We had a lot of things going on. That was not part of what happened in the last several hours.”
Days later, the Boston Globe reported that Brown was “extremely” interested in the Celtics job. Since that gig has been filled, one has to assume he’s still a candidate to coach the Sixers.
Assistants David Fizdale (Miami Heat), Michael Curry (Sixers), Melvin Hunt (Denver Nuggets), and Houston Rockets assistants Chris Finch and Kelvin Sampson are, or were at one time, reported as potential candidates for the job.
Curry, who’s leading the Sixers’ summer-league team, is the only likely candidate with NBA head coaching experience.
He posted a 39-43 record and a first-round playoff exit with the Detroit Pistons in 2008-09. The Georgia native was fired after his only season as a head coach. He spent the last three seasons as the Sixers’ associate head coach under Collins.