The Butler Bulldogs will play their first season in the revamped Big East next season, but they will do so without wonderboy coach Brad Stevens.
As reported by ESPN this afternoon, the Boston Celtics have hired Stevens to replace former coach Doc Rivers. Rivers parted with the Celtics earlier this week to become coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. Rivers is highly respected around the NBA and losing him was seen as a major blow to Boston, but they wasted no time in bringing in an exciting replacement.
Stevens first gained national attention as the young, strategically brilliant coach of an overachieving Butler team that found their way to the National Championship game against Duke; a game in which the Bulldogs nearly captured the title on a last-second shot. A repeat performance the following year cemented Stevens as one of the hottest names in coaching, collegiate or otherwise.
Stevens will become Boston’s coach despite having a contract with Butler University that was to extend to the 2021-2022 season. While he had turned down prestigious coaching offers in the past, the lure of the green and white proved to be enough, as sports writer J.A. Adande expressed on Twitter following the announcement of the hire.
Apparently UCLA didn't have enough banners hanging for Brad Stevens, so when he left Butler he went to 1 of few places with more. #17ofem
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) July 3, 2013
The move proves that even the most dedicated of college coaches can be pulled away by the possibility of greatness on the next level, not to mention the salary increase. Stevens joins the ranks of such other coaches as Rick Pitino, John Calipari, and Larry Brown, who all made the jump to the pros. Brown remains the only coach to win a championship at both collegiate and professional levels, doing so with the Kansas University Jayhawks and the Detroit Pistons respectively. Whether or not Stevens can become the second is the question on everyone’s mind.