The Celtics removed Joe Mazulla’s interim tag Thursday and have named the 34-year-old the team’s 19th head coach in franchise history. The two sides also agreed to a contract extension, but terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Mazzulla was named interim head coach after Boston suspended Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 NBA season for violating team policies for his alleged inappropriate affair with a team staffer. It also was reported Udoka made “unwanted comments” toward the staffer.
Boston has achieved a league-best 42-17 record under Mazzulla’s tenure as interim head coach. The C’s are third in offensive rating and and fourth in defensive rating heading into the All-Star break.
“As he has shown, Joe is a very talented coach and leader,” president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said, per a statement from the team. “He has a unique ability to galvanize a room around a mission. We are thankful for the work he has done to help get us to this point, and excited that he has agreed to lead us into the future.”
The president of basketball operations has publicly supported Mazzulla all season despite scrutiny and the supposed lack of urgency to remove his interim tag.
Jazz CEO Danny Ainge had wanted to interview the then up-and-coming assistant when Will Hardy left Boston to become Utah head coach, but that request was denied because of how much of a priority he was within the organization.
Mazzulla and his staff were chosen to coach the All-Star Game, and the young head coach has received recognition from Celtics star players for his attitude on and off the court.