WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and team owner Steven Pagliuca were sitting courtside at the 2010 NCAA men’s basketball championship game when Ainge noted that the best coach in college basketball was on the sideline.
Pagliuca, a Duke alum and Blue Devils superfan, thought Ainge was talking about coach Mike Krzyzewski. Ainge, though, was hinting at Butler coach Brad Stevens.
“I was secretly rooting for Butler to win the national championship,” explained Ainge. “So [Pagliuca] had a big argument with me, saying, ‘Coach K is the best coach of all time and history.’ Part of it was I believed [Stevens was the best], but part of it was just to get under Pags’ skin.”
Three years later, Pagliuca has to admit he’s a pretty big fan of Stevens (the fact that the Blue Devils won that game makes it a little easier). Ainge and Pagliuca were two of Boston’s brass who flanked Stevens when he was introduced as the 17th head coach in Celtics history on Friday at the team’s training center.
The 36-year-old Stevens will be tasked with the challenge of leading a young team through a rebuilding process, but 18s decorated every scoreboard in the gymnasium, a reference to the team’s quest for its next championship banner.
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