Ime Udoka is Out – Boston Celtics Officially Hire Joe Mazzulla as New Head Coach
Ime Udoka and his personal problems have been kicked to the curb by the Boston Celtics.
The Boston Celtics have officially hired Joe Mazzulla.
According to Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix, the Celtics announced on Thursday that Mazzulla, who was serving as interim coach during Ime Udoka’s suspension, will be steering the Celtics ship, making Mazzulla the youngest head coach in the NBA.
“As he has shown, Joe is a very talented coach and leader. He has a unique ability to galvanize a room around a mission,” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said in a statement.
“We are thankful for the work he has done to help get us to this point, and excited that he has agreed to lead us into the future.”
Ime Udoka is no longer employed in any capacity by the Celtics, I’m told. https://t.co/B5gtMgBI1b
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) February 16, 2023
Udoka coached the Celtics to the NBA Finals last season, which was Udoka’s first season as an NBA head coach. In September, the Celtics announced Udoka’s suspension for committing several team violations following a report, which detailed an “improper” relationship with a female team employee.
In Udoka’s one year as Boston’s head coach, the Celtics finished with a 51–31 record in the regular season, eventually losing to the Warriors in the finals.
The Brooklyn Nets were considering hiring Udoka during the firing of Steve Nash, but chose Jacque Vaughn, who was serving as the interim coach.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith expressed his disappointment with the way the Celtics handled Udoka’s suspension.
“You could’ve handled it differently; they put him on front street. With his personal business, and I happen to know many occasions where that never happened to people who look a lot differently than me or you,” Smith said. “This is where I make people uncomfortable, and I don’t give two damn about it. Y’all full of it, and it really ticks me off with that.”
Currently Boston sits at No. 1 in the Eastern Conference with a record of 41-17.