BOSTON -- Celtics Nation was shocked by the trading away of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But it's safe to say the hiring of the Celtics' new head coach -- Brad Stevens from Butler -- is even more surprising.
The C's sprung the news late Wednesday afternoon, demonstrating their firm commitment to rebuilding by choosing someone who, at age 36, is six months younger than Garnett to replace Doc Rivers.
"Brad and I share a lot of the same values," Danny Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations, 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."
"Our family is thrilled by the opportunity given to us by the leadership of the Boston Celtics," Stevens said in a statement released by Butler.
Butler has spent the past six years at Butler and never won fewer than 22 games while leading the Bulldogs to a pair of national runner-up finishes to Duke and Connecticut. He was a three-time academic All-America nominee while earning four varsity letters at DePauw University, and later joined Butler as the coordinator of basketball operations under then-coach Thad Matta. Stevens was named head coach in 2007.
As a head coach he has a career winning percentage of .772, which includes a 33-5 finish during the 2009-10 season.
"[It] is emotional to leave a place that we have called home for the past 13 years," Stevens said in the statement. "We truly love Butler University and Indianapolis and are very thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many wonderful things together."
"We have done everything we can to keep Brad here at Butler; however, the Celtics team has offered Brad and his family a unique opportunity with which no university can compete," said Butler's president, James M. Danko, in the same statement.
While all that success on the college level is good, Stevens will inherit a Celtics team that's rebuilding on the fly and in all likelihood will struggle.
The team has already agreed in principle to a trade that will send Garnett and Pierce to Brooklyn for multiple players, some of which are not likely to be on the team's opening night roster.
But Stevens does inherit four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo, as well as Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger, all of whom are considered core players who are part of the C's rebuilding process.
The C's have scheduled a press conference for Friday at 11 a.m. to introduce their new coach.