BOSTON (WPRI) — The Boston Celtics have introduced their new coach.
The Celtics announced Monday morning that they’ve officially hired Ime Udoka as the 18th head coach in the organization’s 75-year history.
Udoka brings 16 years of NBA experience to Boston: seven as a player and nine as an assistant coach.
“Among the many outstanding qualities that Ime brings to the table are his character, humility, and competitiveness. He has a relentless work ethic and a vast array of experiences as a player and coach,” said Brad Stevens, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. “He’s a leader that is warm and demanding, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in pursuit of Banner 18.”
Udoka, 43, spent seven seasons coaching under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, followed by a season in Philadelphia and another in Brooklyn. Each team qualified for the playoffs during his tenure and one took home a title — the Spurs in 2014.
He also was an assistant coach for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team in 2018.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise,” Udoka said. “Coaching this talented roster and working alongside Brad makes it an ideal situation.”
“I’d like to thank Wyc, Steve, and Brad for entrusting me with this opportunity. I look forward to getting started right away,” he continued.
Udoka played 12 years of professional basketball, including seven seasons in the NBA from 2003-04 to 2010-11. He played for San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento, New York, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Udoka also represented Nigeria in international competition, earning bronze medals in 2005 and 2011 at the African Championships.
“Ime stands out as a person of integrity, accomplishment, energy, and insight,” Celtics co-owner and governor Wyc Grousbeck said. “He has worked with some of the best and is ready to take the next step forward. I look forward to having him as our head coach.”