As the Boston Celtics’ search for a new head coach commences, the former in Brad Stevens, who was formally introduced as the team’s newest president of basketball operations, bid farewell to his predecessor, Danny Ainge.
After 18 seasons with the Celtics, Ainge is retiring. It’s a decision Danny says he reached months before the Brooklyn Nets sent the Celtics home packing, Tuesday night.
Danny Ainge On Brad Stevens: ‘He Was Born For This’
And, Ainge believes Boston’s last head coach in Stevens is the perfect man for the job.
“I’m excited for Brad (Stevens). He was born for this,” Ainge said during Wednesday afternoon’s press conference. “Indiana kid, basketball junkie, smart, lives the game, has many resources, and has a great staff.”
This is a good day for the organization, according to Ainge. While some may perceive Stevens transitioning into the Celtics front office as a minor step back — until we know who the newest head coach will be, at least — Danny sees things differently.
“With Brad’s leadership, and his organization, and his work ethic and intelligence, I think this is a great day for the Celtics,” Ainge added. “And I think this is actually a big step forward, and I’m looking forward to seeing what (will unfold). I’ll be hovering from a distance sitting with Pags (Stephen Pagliuca) or Wyc (Grousbeck) yelling at the refs for years to come. But, this is a good day for me, and for my family, my children.
“I talked them through this process and we’re excited for the opportunities to have to spend more time with them and not be as stressed, and get out and play golf a little bit more.”
Stevens, who openly admitted as a first-year coach, back in 2013, dreaded this day for a long time.
Brad Stevens: ‘It’s An Honor to be Trusted with this Responsibility’
Now, however, with eight years of coaching under his belt, Danny’s support throughout the years has strengthened Brad, who’s excited to take on a new challenge.
“It’s an honor to be trusted with this responsibility by Wyc, by Pags,” Stevens said after being formally introduced as the new Celtics president of basketball operations. “Then to get a chance to learn from and work alongside Danny all of this time. One of my big fears in coming here was the day that Danny would decide to step away because when you’re in coaching and you ride the waves of each win, each loss, each bad practice drill, each thing that doesn’t go your way or does go your way.
“It’s so important to be surrounded by people that have a great understanding of the challenges, that truly love the joys that come with it but also find great joy in overcoming the toughest of days and Danny has provided that support as my boss.”
Ainge and Stevens’ bond throughout the years has prepared Brad for this new day as the Celtics will embark on a new era.
“I appreciate the super-kind words from Pags and Danny,” Stevens added. “I understand and I’m looking forward to this new great challenge and responsibility. We’re driven to compete for championships. As Danny said, yesterday was a hard day, this morning was a hard day and I know that a lot of work’s ahead.”