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Celtics Hire Brad Stevens As Next Coach

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The Boston Celtics have found their next coach and he is younger than Kevin Garnett.

To the surprise of many, the Celtics announced the hiring of Brad Stevens on Wednesday. The 36-year-old Stevens led the Butler Bulldogs to the national championship game in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011.

"Brad and I share a lot of the same values," Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said in a press release announcing the hire. "Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic. His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him towards Banner 18."

Coming off his sixth season as head coach of the Bulldogs, Stevens' departure for Boston comes just more than a week after the Celtics agreed to release Doc Rivers from his contract so that he could join the Los Angeles Clippers. The Celtics have also reportedly agreed to send Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal that signalled the start of a rebuilding phase for the franchise.

After his first trip to the Final Four in 2010, Stevens signed a 12-year contract extension that would have kept him at Butler through the 2021-22 season. A native of Indiana, Stevens began his coaching career as an assistant at Butler in 2001.

"Our family is thrilled for the opportunity given to us by the leadership of the Boston Celtics, but it is emotional to leave a place that we have called home for the past 13 years," said Stevens in a statement released by the University. "We truly love Butler University and Indianapolis, and are very thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many wonderful things together."

Putting aside the coveted nature of the Celtics' coaching job and Stevens' relative youth, the coach-team pairing was noteworthy simply for being unexpected. Unlike most every personnel transaction in the NBA these days, the Celtics' hiring of Stevens caught many fans and media members entirely by surprise.

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BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics keep getting younger — on the coaching staff as well as the court.

Less than a week after agreeing to trade Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets — and 10 days after shipping coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers — the Celtics hired Butler's Brad Stevens as their next head coach.

Stevens, 36, twice led the Bulldogs to the NCAA title game, but has no NBA experience as a player or coach.

"Brad and I share a lot of the same values," Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said in a release. "Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic. His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him towards Banner 18."

Stevens has spent the last six years as the coach of Butler, leading the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and '11. He has a career winning percentage of .772 and never won fewer than 22 games in a season.

He takes over a team that is three seasons removed from an appearance in the NBA finals; the Celtics won their unprecedented 17th championship in 2008. But with Garnett and Pierce showing signs of slowing down in this year's playoffs, when Boston was eliminated by the New York Knicks in the first round, Ainge has decided to rebuild.

He allowed Rivers to take over the Clippers, extracting a first-round draft choice in return. Amid last week's NBA draft, the Celtics and Nets agreed to a deal that would send Garnett and Pierce to Brooklyn in exchange for a package of players along with three first-round draft picks.

Now Stevens, who is younger than Garnett, will be the one to work with those players.

"Our family is thrilled for the opportunity given to us by the leadership of the Boston Celtics, but it is emotional to leave a place that we have called home for the past 13 years," Stevens said in a release issued by the university. "We truly love Butler University and Indianapolis, and are very thankful to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many wonderful things together."

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Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jgolen

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