C's make six-year, $22 million commitment to Stevens

C's make six-year, $22 million commitment to Stevens
July 5, 2013, 10:15 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — The hiring of Brad Stevens as the new head coach of the Boston Celtics was shocking enough.

The fact that he was given an unprecedented six-year deal worth $22 million, was even more amazing.

"That's a huge, huge commitment for someone who has never coached in this league," said one rival GM. "But if you're going to do that, he's the guy you do it for. He was a heck of a college coach."

His head coaching resume consists of just six seasons at Butler, but he won 166 games - more than any NCAA Division I men's basketball coach after their first six seasons on the job.

During that span he lost a total of 49 games, a total he just may surpass in this, his first season as an NBA head coach.  

Well aware that the C's are expected to struggle this season, it only made sense for the Celtics to go to great lengths in convincing Stevens that he wasn't hired just as a stop-gap measure in their rebuilding process.

They want him to be along for the ride, from start to finish.

And a six-year deal, which is more years than the C's have ever given a head coach according to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, speaks volumes as to how the front office and ownership feel towards Stevens and his chances at success.

"On and off the court, we think Brad will help us lead this franchise where it needs to be," said C's co-owner Wyc Grousbeck. "We're going to be patient and resolute. We think we have one of the very best coaches and one of the very best general managers in the game."

Ainge knew it would not be easy to lure Stevens from Butler.

Many have tried, both in the NBA and among college basketball powers, only to learn that the Zionsville, Indiana native had no intention of leaving his home state - until now.

"I am absolutely humbled to be sitting here in this room and looking around with the banners that hang," said Stevens, whose introductory press conference was held today at Boston's practice facility. "As any young basketball fan was or is, just in awe of the Boston Celtics and the Boston Celtics organization and all that has been accomplished by the many players, coaches and everybody else that has worked in this building to help them do what they've done in the past."

While the C's mystique certainly played a role in his decision, the six-year, $22 million offer didn't hurt their chances of landing Stevens whom Ainge said was his "first choice" for the job.  

"I wanted to show him our commitment to him," Ainge said. "It was not easy for Brad. Brad's had opportunities in the NBA in the past, at bigger college programs. But the six-year commitment and being the only guy that has that commitment, was us showing him that we believe in him and we're investing in (Stevens) because of all those great qualities he has."

The 36-year-old rookie head coach acknowledged the impact of the C's offer in terms of him choosing to come to Boston after spending the past 13 years (the last six as head coach) with the Butler program.

"That was huge," Stevens said of the contract. "At the end of the day, as much as I took a leap of faith, so did they."

And only time will tell if the Celtics' investment in this wildly successful college coach, will pay off with the one thing that the C's remain focused on - Banner 18.

"You see him in the NCAAs and you see how hard his teams play," Grousbeck told CSNNE.com. "But that doesn't compare to meeting him and understanding that he is a winner at heart and a very high character guy at heart. He's a worthy successor to the title of head coach of the Celtics."