Working well below the radar, the Celtics announced Wednesday that they had come to an agreement with Brad Stevens to become their head coach.
Stevens, 36, is a surprise hire for a couple of reasons. For one thing, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was adamant that he had not yet begun interviewing candidates as recently as Monday. For another, Stevens had turned down several lucrative offers from major college programs in recent years to remain at Butler, where he led the Bulldogs to two national title games. Some thought he might never leave.
The surprise and secrecy enabled the Celtics to pull off the highly unusual move of announcing a major hire through a news release, before any information leaked through media channels.
“Brad and I share a lot of values,” Ainge said in a statement. “Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic. His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him towards Banner 18.”
The DePauw University alum joined Butler as coordinator of basketball operations under Thad Matta, eventually replacing Matta as head coach in 2007. Stevens coached Butler for the last six years, building a win percentage of .772. He was the youngest coach to reach the Final Four since Bobby Knight in 1973 when he led the Bulldogs there in 2010, at the age of 33.
Update: Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Celtics signed Stevens to a six-year, $22 million contract.
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