JUNE 28: Five days after his deal with the Celtics was first reported, Udoka has been officially announced as the team’s new head coach. The organization issued a press release confirming the news.
“I would like to welcome Ime, Nia, Kez, and Massai to the Boston Celtics. Among the many outstanding qualities that Ime brings to the table are his character, humility, and competitiveness. He has a relentless work ethic and a vast array of experiences as a player and coach,” Stevens said in a statement. “He’s a leader that is warm and demanding, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in pursuit of Banner 18.”
JUNE 23: New Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has made a decision on his replacement, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Boston is finalizing a deal to hire Nets assistant Ime Udoka as the team’s new head coach.
Udoka, who appeared in over 300 NBA games as a player for the Lakers, Knicks, Blazers, Spurs, and Kings, transitioned into coaching following his retirement in 2012. He spent seven years as an assistant on Gregg Popovich‘s staff in San Antonio before joining the Sixers for the 2019/20 season. He was hired by the Nets last fall and focused on Brooklyn’s defense as one of the top assistants on Steve Nash‘s staff.
Udoka has interviewed for several open head coaching positions in recent years, having been linked to the Bulls, Pacers, Knicks, and 76ers a year ago and to the Cavaliers in 2019. He was due for a shot at a top job and quickly separated himself from the Celtics’ other candidates during the team’s coaching search, tweets Wojnarowski.
According to Woj, a number of Celtics players who participated in the 2019 World Cup for Team USA were impressed by Udoka, who was an assistant on the U.S. staff. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart all played on that team.
The Celtics’ head coaching job opened up three weeks ago when Danny Ainge stepped down from his position as the organization’s president of basketball operations and Stevens was moved into that role. Stevens, who led the coaching search, has had a busy first month on the job — he also completed the first trade of the NBA offseason, sending Kemba Walker to Oklahoma City last week.
The Celtics are the first team to complete a head coaching search this offseason, ahead of the Mavericks, Pacers, Pelicans, Magic, Blazers, and Wizards.
35 thoughts on “Celtics Hire Ime Udoka As Head Coach”
Good to see him getting a chance now, after many rumors and interviews over the last few years.
I guess this means Carlisle -> Indiana
I think its a good hire. Guy has worked hard to deserve this golden opportunity to step in as a first time head coach with a playoff calibour team that includes 2 potential superstars.
I love this hire. He’s in a good position with this team. He should have gotten hired before this, but I really think this will give him a shot to be successful.
A good decision from the front office… finally
Probably the only one that would take the job they should add Perkins to his staff he’s not afraid to tell these young guys to step up and smarten up at least on Twitter
This website needs a laugh emoji
He’s gotten passed over by several organizations. There has to be one to numerous reasons. He’s never won a title as a player or coach. What makes him qualified?! Just Bc he coached under Popovich?! How many of Pops guys have won a championship? I can’t think of one! Personally HATE this hire, but hopefully I’m wrong, don’t think I am though. Boy I’m excited to have a guy who barely average 5 points a game over EIGHT YEARS, leading an elite talent like Tatum and a rising superstar in Brown. ♂️♂️♂️ Gid help CelticsNation.
Stevens averaged 0 points a game in his NBA career.
I don’t understand how playing in the nba at a high level makes you qualified to be a head coach. Magic Johnson flamed out. Also the people at the end of the bench or sometimes the most knowledgeable. And you can’t discredit the past organizations especially if he’s hopping spot to spot that means he knows he’s getting a spot. Really wondering what makes you qualified
Good player doesn’t always equal good coach. He’s been an assistant coach for years including the 2014 championship spurs, which was arguably Pop’s best year. And to say being Pop’s assistant doesn’t benefit the coach I feel is wrong. I mean experience is experience, and I’d prefer a coach with experience under Pop then under some one like Terry Stotts or Luke Walton. Idk this seems silly to me
Lastson86, do you really think there is a connection between points scored and ability to coach? Some of the greatest coaches ever in any sport never played the sport or were marginal athletes in the sport. I like that he had years working under Pop, one of the greatest coaches in history.
By that logic Michael Jordan should be the best owner out there…he’s actually one of the worst. Gotta love when people know nothing about sports. No clue if Udoka will be a great coach or a bust, but his playing career has nothing to do with his coaching ability. Idiot.
Pop himself wasn’t a player. Erik Spoelstra wasn’t a player. If you look cross-sport, Belicheck never played pro. It’s not the be all end all. Calm down.
Get a grip…his role as a player has, and let me make sure you understand this, absolutely no bearing on his merits as a coach. None.
You’re allowed to not like the hire, but to say it’s bad because he was a role player in the NBA is absurd. As is asserting hiring coaches with connections to the best coach alive is a bad idea. Nutty stuff.
Actually mediocre playing talent makes the best coaching material. Udoka is promising.
From his presser: He’s a tough guy who will push the two stars and try to bring the dogs out
From me: He wasn’t raised a brother. He’s representing. What if he bugs Tatum or Brown, or Stevens, or alienates the 3rd option Smart.
From co-owner SteveP: “Hopefully our 18th coach for our 18th banner. That would be good symmetry.”
Edit* HR says Udoka did mention Smart in his presser. My info secondhand.
Seems like a great hire. He was a smart player in the league, and he’s learned under the best.
I think so too. I think he’s had a great education under some great coaches so he should be ready and the players seem to love him. Hopefully a great hire. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather hire?
Laston86 – Correct, good thing the Bulls and the Lakers didn’t take a chance on 6.7 ppg career scorer, Phil Jackson (Yes, a whopping 1.5 ppg more than Udoka.) Or, the Warriors, yikes, take a chance on a 6 ppg career scorer like Steve Kerr???? Or Pops, without an NBA career, or Eric Spolestra……………..
And different sport, but good thing the Patriots never took a shot on that Belichick guy……..
Maybe we can coax Larry Brown out of retirement?
I like the hire, personally.
Just Bc he coached under Pop doesn’t mean a thing. He hasn’t coached on a title winning team since 14 and again, he has been passed over for head coaching jobs by MULTIPLE organizations. I doubt he’ll do anything and I hope to God I’m wrong and would happily eat crow, but my bet is on him and Brad being fired after 2 seasons of mediocre results
just bc he hasn’t coached on a title winning team since 14 or he was passed over for head coaching jobs doesn’t mean a thing
I recommend Frank’s Ret Hot with crow. Just a heads up in case you wanted to prepare.
I’ll eat it gladly but it’s a safe bet the crow won’t even be prepared
Lol getting so specific about the crow
Frank Vogel played JV ball for Kentucky but woke last year as a Coach. I like the hire for the Celtics!!! We shall see. Hopefully more moves are to come for the Celtics. Something has to give at Center before the season starts.
He checks all the boxes that were put out there. The stars indicated they wanted a black coach who played in the league. It almost had to be a first time HC, since no HC with gravitas is walking into this situation where he works for the prior HC. Hiring his own assistant might not play well, as he wasn’t promoted off his best stretch.
As man of color, I don’t think that gender or race should favor any job applicant. The most competent candidate should get the job. Medias keep on diving people so they can keep pushing their agenda.
That being said, I wish him luck even though I don’t trust Brad Stevens ability to turn things around. He will keep relying on draft picks like Ainge was doing. I see other eastern teams improving next year and Celtics will probably miss the playoff. The same teams besides Celtics will make the playoffs in addition to the Hornets.
“He will keep relying on draft picks like Ainge was doing.” He’s been in the position for about 3 weeks and no prior history in an NBA front office. You have absolutely no basis for that prediction.
Time will tell pal.
Udoka is a good guy. Here’s to good guys. All the jabber here about folks’ political leanings and hardly a mention of Ime Udoka. Dopey.
Love this hire. Boston will bounce back next season
Congratulations on your first black hire
Will Stevens really have this guys back?? Will this guy have the owner’s support like Stevens did? All I know is that the better be does, the worse Stevens will look. Eventually, Stevens will want to go back to sidelines.