The Runner Sports

Brad Stevens Hired As Celtics Head Coach

When you talk about college level coaches as winners, there are few that fit the description more than Brad Stevens. Wednesday afternoon, Stevens was hired and announced as the next head coach of the Boston Celtics.

Stevens got his coaching career started back in 2001 where he came on as the assistant coach for Butler University. It was something that almost didn’t happen as Brad had to essentially throw his life and previous plans on the back burner for even the chance to get into coaching. He originally planned on being a volunteer in the Butler basketball office. He would eventually be offered a low-paying administrative position as coordinator of basketball operations under then-coach Thad Matta. A position that opened up due to the arresting and resigning of then assistant coach Jamal Meeks. 

After the 2000-01 season, the new coach in town Todd Lickliter promoted Stevens to the full-time assistant coach.

In April of 2007 when Lickliter left the school to take a job at the University of Iowa, it was Stevens’ time to shine. The school had decided to hire from within, and in less than 24 hours after his interview for the head job, the role was all his. And so began the legacy.

In his six seasons as the Butler head coach, Stevens led the Bulldogs to a sensational 166-49 record. Including 12-5 in the NCAA tournament, twice –in consecutive years– making it to the championship game. In his first four seasons, Stevens lead the Bulldogs as the Horizon League champions. In the next two years they would finish 2nd, and 3rd. Last year Butler competed for the first time in the Atlantic 10, where they finished 3rd. In his six seasons, Stevens worst season record came in 2011-12, where the Bulldogs finished 22-15.

Stevens had recently extended his contract through the 2021-22 season with Butler, and for the most part looked completely unavailable for a NBA coaching job. UCLA had made a big push to sign him, but Stevens remained true to the school that gave a 30 something year old the chance of a life time….until now.

Danny Ainge had other ideas. After getting out from under a Doc Rivers who seemingly didn’t wish to remain with the team, and was owed $21 million, the C’s made a move to put them in a potential winning position. The market seemed bleak at best to bring in a winning coach. And in a year where the theme seems to be tank for Andrew Wiggins, Ainge seems to be showing that despite the big moves, the Celtics are gearing up to remain in the battle for relevancy.

Stevens comes into the head coaching job at the ripe young age of 36. With only six years under his belt of head coaching overall, and without a lick of professional experience, it’s needless to say this hiring isn’t flawless. We’ve seen numerous successful college coaches in a number of different sports, make the transfer to the pros and crash and burn. He doesn’t have the ego we see some college coaches come to the professional level with, but can he handle the big egos of the NBA?

The good thing is at his experience level, Stevens’ price of service will be relatively low. His contract details becoming known tonight, he’ll earn $22 million over the course of 6 years. Also he is the type of guy who know’s what his role is in the organization and doesn’t seem to have the ego to over reach those boundaries. Need we draw comparison to the Rick Pitino years. I don’t think we’ll see Stevens come in and overthrow one of the organization’s legends –not that there is anybody with such a title– like Pitino did to Red Auerbach.

Brad Stevens should excite fans, for the simple way the man looks at the game. He doesn’t build around one portion like defense or offense, and instead looks at the game and all it has to offer from every angle imaginable. A direction the Celtics desparately need to embrace.  He’s also a bit of a statistical nut. Let’s be real, statistic give way to patterns, which means you can coach to these patterns, whether they be for your own team, or the opposition. So for a head coach to be heavily involved in the statistics of the game is a telling sign to his commitment.

Butler meanwhile is preparing to start their first season in the revitalized Big East Conference. It’ll be the first time the team will take the court without Stevens in 11 years. Stevens can largely be thanked for the bringing of the Bulldogs to the national spotlight. It’ll be interesting to see how the team fares without him. The school who seems to be parting with Stevens on a fairly positive note, remains confident that their program can continue in the winning ways Stevens leaves behind.

Stevens will be introduced Friday morning at the teams Training Center at Healthpoint. It’s really a great hiring that comes with very little downside. He’s a young coach that if things go well could hang around the organization for a long time. If things don’t go well over the next couple of years, currently people aren’t expecting much of the C’s anyways. Besides, as a first time NBA head coach and without a large following of fans, he’s an easy guy to let go of if the Celtics need to drastically and rapidly improve the coaching situation.

 

 

(Photo source)  http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l0fp4r6uSK1qa6qwxo1_500.jpg

Author: Tyler Arnold

My name is Tyler Arnold, I am the founder, a co-owner, and editor-in-chief of The Runner Sports. Sports have been my life since I was young, so here I am doing the only sensible thing, making a career of it. I love it all, and will watch any and every game I possibly can. Thanks for your readership.