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Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Friday that he is not considering a head coaching position at Indiana University, which he strongly opposes.
I said this the other day: I’m not considering it, Stevens said. I tried to make it as clear as possible and make sure people understood that this was a special place for me. Because I don’t want it to sound like it’s not. But like I said the other day, I’m so grateful for this organization and the people here and everything they’ve done for us. I have incredible leadership in Danny (Ainge), Wyc (Grousbeck) and the Pags (Steve Pagliuca) and what they did for us, the way we were supported … We’re going through a tough season, and I don’t think it’s my job to not go through it. It’s not up to me to make sure I do my best to find the best version of myself this year.
The Celtics are in 8th place with 20-21 points. Eastern Conference standings. Stevens, an Indiana native who grew up in Bloomington and spent 12 seasons as an assistant and head coach at Butler, moved to Boston in 2013 when the Celtics were looking for a successor to Dr. Rivers.
I love coming to work every day. I love this neighborhood, Stevens continued. The people have been great to us. My family is so happy. And at the same time, the house is the house. And so I wanted to make sure that everyone understood that it meant a lot. But no. As I said on Tuesday, that is not the case. So I don’t know if I should answer that question again on Monday, but I hope people understand. And I hope that people will understand that it still means a lot to me, and I hope that they hire the people that hire them, and that they’ll be around for another 20 years, and that the kids will feel the same way that I do. But I’m not a child anymore. I’m a 44-year-old mother… Drill. I drive around, eat Dunkin’ Donuts and support the Patriots. I’m sorry, I must be pretty disturbed.
Indiana fired Archie Miller on Monday after four seasons in Bloomington. During his tenure, the Hoosiers failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, losing six games in a row and finishing the season at 12-15 overall and 7-12 in the Big Ten.
Because of his ties to the state, Stevens immediately emerged as the ideal candidate for Indiana supporters. When asked about it last week, he said he was very grateful to be the coach of the Celtics, but also that it meant a lot to him to see the support he would get to return to his home state and take over the Hoosiers’ program.
This has done nothing to quell the rumors of the last few days, with a growing rumor that he is considering the option of leaving the NBA and returning to college. Friday’s statements should finally end the speculation.
Other names that have been linked to Indiana’s vacancy in recent days are former Michigan coach John Beilein, Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, Baylor coach Scott Drew and Arkansas coach Eric Musselman. Nevada coach and Indiana legend Steve Alford is not eligible, sources told ESPN, while Alabama’s Nate Oates paid more than $12 million, leaving him off the list.
Beard, Drew and Musselman are practicing for the NCAA Tournament this weekend, and sources told ESPN that there has been limited contact with one of the three so far at best.
Stevens quietly signed a contract extension – his second since joining the Celtics in 2013 after a stellar career at Butler – on a day off in mid-August during the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, just before the playoffs. The next day, Stevens talked about how important it is for him and his wife Tracy to have stability for their family in the profession – coaching – which tends to be anything but stable.
I would say it’s obviously an honor and a privilege to coach the Celtics, and we recognize that, Stevens said. We had a very nice experience and had a great time. I felt we got better, we put ourselves in a position to be competitive and I hope we continue to do that.
One of the things that was really important for Tracy and me was to do this coaching thing, to try to be as stable as possible without moving too much. And we’re incredibly blessed when you consider that you spent 13 years at Butler and are now in your seventh year with the Celtics and moving on. I think as a coach you expect to be fired at some point. It’s just the nature of the business, so I never focused on it. I try to concentrate on work as best I can.
Since coming to Boston, Stevens has established himself as one of the best coaches in the league. In his more than seven seasons as Celtics coach, he posted a record of 338-267, reaching the Eastern Conference finals in three of the last four seasons.
In that time, only the Golden State Warriors have won more playoff games than the Celtics. Stevens is the fifth best coach in the NBA, behind Gregg Popovich, Eric Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Terry Stotts with his current team.
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