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Celtics hire Butler’s Brad Stevens to be coach

Jul 3, 2013, 6:03 PM EDT

Brad Stevens Getty Images

For years now the top college programs in the nation have been trying to hire Butler’s Brad Stevens away to run their program. They all failed.

Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics did not.

Boston hired Stevens away in a move they announced late Wednesday. It’s a hire that surprised a lot of people but is brilliant for a franchise trying to rebuild — he is the perfect blend of young, energetic and well respected.

“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 statement on the Butler University Web site.

“Brad and I share a lot of the same values,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge in a released statement. “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, is a guy whose style should adapt well to the NBA even at his young age (he is five months younger than Kevin Garnett).

First off, Butler was a defense first team that won on that side of the court. Also, like a lot of mid-majors, their offensive system relied on precise execution, according to our own Rob Dauster of CollegeBasketballTalk told PBT. Execution and detail orientation are things that will work in the NBA.

Finally, he is a very smart coach who loves to use advanced stats, which again melds with what Boston wants to do.

Danny Ainge gets a win here for the rebuilding effort.

  1. sawick48 - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    such a win/win for the Cs.

    worst case scenario, Stevens wins 30 games total in the next 2 years and leaves the Celtics with a pair of top 3 picks to build around.

    Best case he really is a coaching genius and we got our hooks into him at the very beginning. great hire.

    A++++ move by Danny either way. ready for the C-tevens era

    • sawick48 - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      and the implications of this move seem definitive. Seems like the Cs are seriously going into this season with the roster as is, as I can’t imagine overspending on a free agent and expecting them to listen to a first year head coach who is barely older than they are (josh smith isnt listening to brad stevens).

      And further, to me this cements the end of Rondo in green. Sooner or later he will be flipped for assets and/or picks as he too deserves to chase a title on a contender (and i have a tough time envisioning him embracing a 36 year head coach)

      still, perfect hire

  2. fearthehoody - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Rondo is gonna eat him alive!!!

  3. 00maltliquor - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Wow. I’m shocked but I like the move.

  4. loubearkane - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    You have to trade Rondo now !!!!!

  5. rajbais - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Basketball fans are dumb.

    At least they shouldn’t be insincere by saying “that’s history” when they really mean “it’s forgettable.”

    After all Tim Floyd, Mike Montgomery, Leonard Hamilton, Lon Kruger, Jerry Tarkanian, Rick Pitino (whom the Celtics employed), and Mike Dunlap never failed … oh wait they did.

    Insanity is when you try the same thing over and over again to get different results.

    The Celtics and the Stevens supporters have reached to the point where they can be called “insane”.

    Btw, what do you call a Stevens supporter in the NFL?? A Tebowmaniac.

    Danny Ainge will reach a point of irony with this guy by going “Rick Pitino” on the fans by saying “Rick Pitino ain’t walking through that door.”

    • florida727 - Jul 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      What an idiotic post.

      As a rule, I’m not a fan of college coaches going to the NBA. The list of failures at that level far exceeds those with success. College is, and always will be, a coach’s game, whereas the NBA is clearly a player’s game. Of all the college coaches who have tried their hand at the NBA level though, I think Stevens may have the best chance to succeed. The reason is simple: most coaches are walking into a pro situation where they’re being asked to lead a bunch of spoiled, multi-millionaire egomaniacs who have had the “run of the asylum” for a while already. Stevens gets two breaks: 1) he’s young enough that he can better relate to the younger mindset, and 2) the Celtics are rebuilding; it’ll be mostly with young players who haven’t completely had their mindsets “tainted” by prior NBA experience. Hope he does well. Good luck, Celtics fans. You’re getting a good one, no doubt about that.

      • rajbais - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        They will fail with him.

        In fact, John Calipari was 37 when he got his only pro gig.

        Young guy, my foot.

        Plus, he won’t have NBA cred when approaching NBA experienced players. Young guys have enough experience to undermine him and that’s not just Rondo.

        He has no NBA intel and that will be read by any NBA player and that will screw Stevens over.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      Don’t know a whole lot about Brad Stevens huh?

  6. j0esixpack - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Great hire for the long term, but his mandate for this year is to play and assess young talent – not to win.

    The young guys will all be giving it their all – they won’t be throwing games – but if he does his job “well” enough to finish high in the lottery this year, Ainge won’t exactly be upset

  7. jollyjoker2 - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Its bizarre to say this is a great hire or for that matter – a total failure. You would think they would get some assistant coach in the NBA to become a head coach but what I do I know. They obviously bought the koolaid this guy was spewing.

    • mornelithe - Jul 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      It’s very difficult to think that an asst. coach from another organization and system would come in and buy into how the Celtics do things. It’s far easier to imagine that a completely new coach taken from outside the NBA would be able to absorb what Ainge wants him to absorb, and to buy into the Celtics system than someone who’s been running things a completely different way elsewhere.

  8. ddogdaddy - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    Experienced NBA Coach just means some one who has been fired by many teams due to fact the dude is preaching the same tired crap year after year and the players tune him out because thy hate him. Example: Jim O’Brian

    Inexperienced NBA Coach bringing new ideas, accountability, hope and respect. The type of coach players will run through a brick wall for because they love him. Example: Brad Stevens

    Now I know a gew of you Bostonians aren’t all that bright, but I am pretty sure you can see what type of coach it will be who will take you back to the top of Mount St. Larry again. Well done Danny Ainge.

  9. ddogdaddy - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:45 PM


  10. lemfaxx - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Im not butler fan anymore. Goodluck stevens….

  11. jrod2go - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    I guess no one learned from the Pittino debacle in Boston.

    Not exactly the same. Pitino coached the Knicks prior to going to Kentucky.

  12. patthehockeyfan - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    I love Brad Stevens. But, this move has epic fail written all over it. An earlier post referenced Rick Pitino. Let’s add Leonard Hamilton to that. Both are great college coaches whose stints in the NBA were less than memorable.

    Stevens, too, is a great college coach. I just can’t see him succeeding in the NBA with the prima donna professional basketball players with talent, yes; but, with way too much ego.

    I still wish Stevens good luck. (And I look forward to seeing him back in the NCAA.)

    P.S. Yes, my moniker is ‘hockey fan;’ but, I’m a college basketball fan first and foremost.

  13. pistolpete0903 - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Whoa!!! Didn’t see that coming.
    Would it work? History and circumstances suggest it will fail; having said that there is always the FIRST time. So maybe, just maybe, it could work. If I am a Celtic fan, I would be excited (partly due to the surprise package that is Stevens in the NBA). Also, they needed some fresh faces.
    My 2 cents: hard to see it pan out well for Boston. The thing with the NBA coach is that he has to wear the dual (in C’s case the triple hat):
    a) Player development: Since the C’s are pretty raw and young, it would be expected for Stevens to play a major role. Over a long season and presumably a lot of patience from the management, Stevens will get enough chances. The jury isn’t out yet.
    b) Game time coaching/X’s and O’s: Again an unknown quantity as to how he would go against some veteran minds.
    c) Player management: That would be the game changer. Since, he is from a small time school, he might not be able to come terms with the intense media scrutiny associated with a historic franchisee (he might get the slack a couple of years). Also, how he deals with NBA players is yet to be seen. If memory serves me right, he didn’t get marquee/star players to Butler and hence might not be experienced to deal with knuckleheads.
    Me thinks a coach like Calhoun (especially since he is from NE) could have been a better fit.

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