Skip to main content

What the Jazz are Getting in Will Hardy as Head Coach

Jazz fans are still a little unsure of what Will Hardy brings to the table as the team's eighth head coach all time.

Will Hardy will take the reigns as head coach of the Utah Jazz after signing a five-year deal this week. Hardy becomes the organization's eighth head coach since its induction into the NBA in 1974. 

After a competitive and extensive search, the Jazz bet long-term on the 34-year-old former Boston Celtics assistant as Quin Snyder's successor. Although young, Hardy brings a tough basketball mind and an impressive resume.

After playing DIII basketball at Williams College in Massachusetts, Hardy secured an internship with the San Antonio Spurs. At 22, his eyes were wide open, and he is quoted saying, “I realized I didn’t know a f***ing thing." 

Hardy was comfortable with the learning process and was mentored by Dennis Lindsey in this process. At the time, Lindsey was the assistant GM and told Hardy to "be seen and not heard." 

For a whole year, Hardy followed this mantra, being as consistent as possible. He developed a relationship with coaches by working early mornings and late nights through the player development process. 

After a year, Hardy was promoted to the video room with the Spurs where he grew organically within the organization for six years. After hard work and sacrifice, he was promoted to an assistant coach under Greg Popovich. Finally, Hardy was hired to serve as Ime Udoka’s assistant for a successful Celtics team that came up two games short of a championship.

Hardy sees coaching as a moving target and trusts his learning process. He has worked under some great basketball minds and forged many relationships that helped propel his career. 

With this attitude and philosophy comes high respect from the players and coaches Hardy has worked with. He has excellent attention to detail while focusing on overcoming the psychological obstacles of changing players' games. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Hardy understands that he isn’t the smartest person in the room but is willing to work harder than anyone else to gain the respect of the players and staff he works with.

The Jazz are committing to a young, first-time head coach, who, even with a strong resume, will have to grow and learn even more. Fortunately, Hardy made the impression in the interview process that he can learn fast and connect strongly with individual players. 

Hardy owes a lot of his growth to Popovich the Spurs organization, where his roots run deep. Look for him to come in to establish a Spurs-like culture of respect and growth.

If you watch some of Hardy's interviews, you'll see that he is humble yet very honest. He will have to carry this attitude and leadership into a fractured locker room that needs a wake-up call on defense and a renewed mental toughness and resilience that is currently missing.

According to a source close to Donovan Mitchell, he will be coming back to Utah soon to work with Hardy and begin summer workouts. We may never know whether the decision to hire Hardy was influenced at all by Mitchell. 

But one thing is certain: Hardy's leadership and experience will be tested right away with this roster along with so many decisions still to be made. The Jazz trust this decision and they know this might take time.

However, the Jazz are still a good team and we will soon know whether Hardy is up to the task. 


Follow Andrew on Twitter @ArembaczNBA.