Brad Stevens Follows His Passion — Hired in Boston As Celtics Head Coach

Brad Stevens has taken another, more decorated head coaching position. That part isn’t surprising to Butler University, athletic director Barry Collier and fans — they knew this day was inevitable. Losing their prized head coach, and so suddenly, to the professional ranks is what caught everyone off-guard.

I’m not sure what’s most surprising in this deal that was agreed upon Wednesday — the fact that the Celtics hired the 36-year-old college coach or that it was kept under wraps, we’re talking not one peep or tweet about this. That’s rare in today’s world of social media and instantaneous news.

At 5:37 p.m. Wednesday, the news went out via Butler media relations that Stevens was headed to Beantown. The typical reactions on twitter: “WOW,” “WHOA,” “WHAT,” and simply, “!!!!!!!!” From there, any other news could have broken and I don’t think Indy would have noticed.

Words couldn’t help describe the feeling of Indianapolis sports fans as one of their model leaders is moving on. But nobody can blame the guy.

Not only is he getting paid — $22 million over six years, according to Yahoo! Sports — but he’s also taking one of the best basketball jobs in the country, no matter the level. The Boston Celtics are the most storied franchise in NBA history, with 17 NBA Championship banners hanging in the rafters.

The immediate question for Stevens is whether he can handle the egos of the NBA. He can’t just dismiss players from a program like he could at Butler. He also will have little say in the players he coaches, unlike college where recruiting is absolutely critical. Danny Ainge and staff will take care of that.

The next question for him is whether players, some even possibly older, will listen to and take criticism from Stevens. His credibility is high, he’s a tireless worker and he knows the game. I don’t think should be a problem.

As for Butler, a school that officially joined the Big East Conference two days ago, their disappointment is obvious. They’re elated for Stevens and thankful for all he has done, but he’s the reason for the program’s success over the last six years, which included back-to-back NCAA title games. He brought inspiration and hope that the small school can win, and win consistently.

The school will forever be grateful to Stevens for propelling Butler into the national spotlight, allowing them to jump to a big conference and fundraise enough money to make improvements to the old, yet historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Stevens’ move was easy. He made it clear that he wasn’t going to jump at any offer at a bigger school with deeper pockets. Again, it was about fit, and there are few better opportunities than to coach the Boston Celtics. Realistically, I only saw him leaving Butler to coach at Indiana or Duke in the college , or a prestige gig in the NBA.

Might this just pave the way for a role on the US National Team? One would think so. Duke and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski is a big fan of Stevens and surely would be happy to have him take the reigns, possibly after the next coach.

More than anything, I’m proud of Stevens for his hard work and perseverance to follow his passion. 13 years ago, he had a great situation at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. His heart was with the roundball and coaching, so he left that well-paying job to become a volunteer assistant at Butler. And the rest is history.

That worked out alright, so there’s no reason to think this next chapter in his career will as well.

One Response to Brad Stevens Follows His Passion — Hired in Boston As Celtics Head Coach
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