BOSTON — If Danny Ainge ever gets in a really tight spot with his search for a new head coach of the Celtics, he could always look to a familiar face — a very, very familiar face.
That would be himself, of course.
Lest anyone forget, Ainge had a fairly successful coaching run between his days as an NBA player and the beginning of his front office career in 2003. If the Celtics president of basketball operations finds the pool of candidates lacking — every other team except for Philadelphia has filled its coaching vacancy — he could simply grab the clipboard himself.
“That’s not going to happen,” Ainge said Monday. “That’s not in my future.”
Ainge coached parts of four seasons with the Phoenix Suns, replacing Cotton Fitzsimmons in 1996 after the Suns lost their first eight games. (They eventually lost 13 straight to begin the year.) The Suns turned things around under Ainge and made the playoffs that season, despite an incident on the bench in a game at the FleetCenter when Robert Horry threw a towel in Ainge’s face.
Ultimately, Ainge directed Phoenix to a 136-90 record and three straight playoff appearances. He resigned from the Suns 20 games into the 1999-2000 season to spend more time with his family.