The Celtics have hired Butler coach Brad Stevens as their next head coach.
"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 released by the Butler University. "We truly love Butler University and Indianapolis, and are very thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many wonderful things together. What makes Butler truly unique is the people that we have been so blessed to work with. When it comes time for our kids to look at schools, we will start with Butler University."
Stevens, 36, has been regarded as one of the brightest young minds in college basketball after leading the Bulldogs to a 166-49 record and two trips to the Final Four in six seasons. A known proponent of advanced statistics, Stevens is now the youngest head coach in the NBA and the only coach in the league hired to his current position directly from the college ranks.
"Brad and I share a lot of the same values," Celtics president Danny Ainge said in a 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."
The Celtics recently agreed to let coach Doc Rivers out of the final three years and $21 million of his contract so that he could join the Clippers in a dual role as coach and front-office executive. Boston received a first-round pick as compensation. The Celtics then agreed to trade All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets for a package that included a number of draft picks. Boston is clearly headed for a youth movement rebuilding effort, but Ainge said this week that his team would not be purposefully dumping games to improve its position in advance of the loaded 2014 draft lottery.
"We are not tanking," Ainge said, according to the Boston Globe. "That's ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics."
Stevens joins a long list of first-time head coaches hired this summer: former Pacers assistant Brian Shaw is now the coach of the Nuggets, Grizzlies assistant coach Dave Joerger was promoted to head coach, former Knicks guard Jason Kidd is now the coach of the Nets, Lakers assistant Steve Clifford is now the coach of the Bobcats, Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer is now the coach of the Hawks, Jazz assistant coach Jeff Hornacek is now the coach of the Suns and Warriors assistant coach Michael Malone is now the coach of the Kings.
Back in March, Stevens decided to remain at Butler after being courted by UCLA. Boston finished last season with a 41-40 record, earning the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics were eliminated by the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.