Monday, June 28, 2021

Celtics officially name Ime Udoka as head coach

The Celtics have officially named Ime Udoka as the franchise's 18th head coach in the organization's 75-year history, per a team statement Monday morning.

A seven year NBA veteran and nine-year assistant coach, Udoka replaces Brad Stevens on sidelines after eight seasons.
"I would like to welcome Ime, Nia, Kez, and Massai to the Boston Celtics. Among the many outstanding qualities that Ime brings to the table are his character, humility, and competitiveness. He has a relentless work ethic and a vast array of experiences as a player and coach," said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens via a press release. "He's a leader that is warm and demanding, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in pursuit of Banner 18."
Udoka, 43, spent seven years as an assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio (2012 to 2019) and winning a championship in 2014, before his one season in Philadelphia (2019-20) and this past year in Brooklyn (2020-21).

Aside from his coaching experience on the pro level, Udoka was also Popovich's assistant coach for Team USA in 2019.
"It's an honor to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise. Coaching this talented roster and working alongside Brad makes it an ideal situation," said Udoka. "I'd like to thank Wyc, Steve, and Brad for entrusting me with this opportunity. I look forward to getting started right away."
Udoka played 12 years as a professional, including his NBA stint from 2003 to 2011. He averaged 5.2 points on 41.7% shooting and 35.6% from 3-point range, 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 18.1 minutes in 316 career games with San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento, New York, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Udoka also played in international competition, representing Nigeria throughout his career, winning bronze metals in 2005 and 2011 at the African Championships.
"Ime stands out as a person of integrity, accomplishment, energy, and insight," said Celtics Co-Owner and Governor Wyc Grousbeck. "He has worked with some of the best and is ready to take the next step forward. I look forward to having him as our head coach."

"Ime's passion for basketball and coaching is extraordinary," said Celtics Co-Owner and Alternate Governor Steve Pagliuca. "He is respected by players and coaches throughout the league for his empathy, humility, and deep knowledge of the game. We are thrilled that he will be coming to Boston to lead our team."
A Portland, OR native, Udoka went undrafted after he began his collegiate career at Utah State University Eastern (1995-97) before transferring to the University of San Francisco (1997-98) and finishing up at Portland State (1999-00). 

Joel Pavón

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