As a star point guard at West Virginia, Joe Mazzulla helped the Mountaineers win the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) title as a freshman in 2007. As a redshirt junior, the team made him a captain, and the Johnston, Rhode Island native, helped lead them to an appearance in the Final Four.
During his time in Morgantown, Mazzulla played for legendary head coach Bob Huggins. Now enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Huggins has amassed a record of 916-398 as a head coach.
Recently, the Huggins coaching tree, which includes accomplished head coaches like Mick Cronin and Frank Martin, added another branch when the Celtics named Joe Mazzulla their interim head coach.
Mazzulla was on Brad Stevens' staff in Boston, Ime Udoka's last season, coached the Celtics' Summer League team, and he spent two years at the helm of the Fairmont State men's basketball program.
While his experiences as a player and coach will help, going from being behind the bench a season ago to becoming the head coach for a team with championship aspirations is a massive leap.
Now, as Mazzulla applies what he's learned, it helps that the Celtics' new head coach is comfortable with who he is, pairing an impressive basketball acumen with an understanding of self that will serve him well in his new role.