Ainge: 'Brad was my first choice'

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics on Friday introduced Brad Stevens as the 17th head coach in franchise history, tasked with the challenge of leading a young team through a rebuilding process.

Flanked by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and members of the ownership group, Stevens on Friday said he was “absolutely humbled” by the opportunity to coach the Celtics.

“One of the things that I am so thrilled about is working at a place that has such high standards,” Stevens said, “and places such a value on culture.”

Stevens has spent the past six years coaching Butler, leading the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and '11, a remarkable feat for a Horizon League team. He has a career winning percentage of .772 and never won fewer than 22 games in a season. He has no NBA experience.

He replaces Doc Rivers, who was on the Boston bench for nine seasons before leaving for the Los Angeles Clippers last week. Also gone from the Celtics are veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, who were dealt to Brooklyn in a deal that netted Boston a bevy of role players and three first-round draft picks.

Ainge, in his introductory comments at Friday’s introduction, said his “first phone call” after Rivers’ departure was to Stevens.

“Brad was my first choice,” Ainge said. “I have watched and admired his poise, his intelligence, his teams, their effort, their execution under pressure. I’ve always looked at him the last few years as a guy that was a great candidate to be a head coach, never really thinking it was going to be this soon in Celtics history but is a guy that I have targeted for a long time as a potential great head coach.”

More to come ...