Meet New Celtics Coach Brad Stevens
After a surprising pre-holiday announcement that the Celtics had settled on 36-year-old Butler University head coach Brad Stevens to replace outgoing coach Doc Rivers, the team took a moment to introduce their new acquisition to the press Friday, and he struck a humble tone.
Sports pundits mostly agreed that if Stevens is to succeed, he’ll have to buck the conventional wisdom that suggests college coaches fall flat when they move to the NBA. “Let’s hope this goes better than the last time the Celtics handed the keys to a college coach,” wrote the Globe’s Christopher Gasper, referring to Rick Pitino, Celtics head coach from 1997 to 2001.
Most also agreed that Stevens has an advantage over other new coaches, in that the Celtics are obviously in a rebuilding phase that won’t demand he instantly produce a winning team. “Expectations aren’t really going to be an immediate issue for Stevens,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver, “or anyone the Celtics considered for the job. The focus for at least the next year will be establishing a culture of hard work with an emphasis on player development. Losing might not be the goal, but it won’t be viewed as a surprise, a black mark against the coach or as that big of a deal.”
At the press conference, Stevens seemed to do what he needed: which is appear humble and reverent toward the new organization. “I am absolutely humbled to be sitting in this room and looking around me with the banners that hang. I’m very, as any young basketball fan was or is, just in awe of the Boston Celtics,” he told reporters. He didn’t discount the emotion he felt leaving Butler behind. He noted that while he’s received offers from around the NCAA over the years, he jumped from Butler this time, in part because it means he won’t have to get rid of all his gear. “I’ve got thirteen years worth of it so it’s filling my closet … I can root for the guys that I talked to on Wednesday as hard as I possibly can.”
Someone’s already uploaded the conference to YouTube, so watch it and get to know the new guy: