Gordon Hayward always said it would have to be a pretty special situation for Brad Stevens, his college coach, to leave Butler. In six years, the 36-old led Butler to two national championship games — including with Hayward in 2010 — and four Horizon League titles.
But after years of turning down jobs through high-level college basketball, Stevens finally made the jump Wednesday — to the NBA. The Boston Celtics hired Stevens to replace Doc Rivers, who was introduced last week as the new coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.
In a statement provided by the Jazz, Hayward said, "I am extremely excited about the opportunity for Coach Stevens to coach at the next level. I know he will be missed at Butler because of everything he's done for the program. It will be fun being on the other side of the court competing against him."
In a tweet, Hayward joked, "Does this mean I can call you rook now, coach?"
In six seasons with the Bulldogs, Stevens went 166-49. Hayward spent two years at Butler from 2008 to 2010 and was named the Horizon League player of the year as a sophomore. That year, he led the Bulldogs to an undefeated conference record and a 33-5 season that included Sweet 16 and Elite Eight wins at EnergySolutions Arena in the NCAA Tournament.
— Bill Oram