BOSTON, MA – The Boston Celtics have named seven-year NBA veteran Ime Udoka as the franchise’s next head coach, making him the 18th head coach in the organization’s 75-year history. According to team policy, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
âI welcome Ime, Nia, Kez and Massai to the Boston Celtics. Among the many exceptional qualities Ime brings to the table are his character, humility and competitiveness. He has a relentless work ethic and a wide range of experiences as a player and coach, “said Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens.” He is a warm and demanding leader, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in the pursuit of Banner 18. ”
Udoka joins the Celtics franchise after spending the past nine NBA seasons as an assistant coach between San Antonio (2012-13 to 2018-19), Philadelphia (2019-20) and Brooklyn (2020-21). The teams in which Udoka was an assistant coach qualified for the playoffs in all nine seasons, one of those years culminating in an NBA championship (Spurs, 2014).
In addition to his coaching experience in the NBA, Udoka also served as an assistant coach for Gregg Popovich and the United States Men’s National Basketball Team in 2018.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise. Coaching this talented team and working alongside Brad makes it an ideal situation,” Udoka said. “I want to thank Wyc, Steve and Brad for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started right away.”
Udoka played 12 years of professional basketball, including seven seasons in the NBA from 2003-04 to 2010-11. He’s averaged 5.2 points on 41.7% shots (35.6% 3-PT), 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 18.1 minutes in 316 career games with San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento, New York and the Los Angeles Lakers. Udoka has also represented Nigeria in international competitions throughout his playing career, winning bronze medals in 2005 and 2011 at the African Championships.
âIme sets himself apart as a person of integrity, accomplished, energetic and insightful,â said Celtics co-owner and governor Wyc Grousbeck. “He’s worked with some of the best and is ready to take it to the next level. I can’t wait to have him as my head coach.”
“Ime’s passion for basketball and coaching is extraordinary,” said Celtics co-owner and acting governor Steve Pagliuca. “He is respected by players and coaches in the league for his empathy, humility and in-depth knowledge of the game. We are delighted that he is coming to Boston to lead our team.”
Originally from Portland, OR, Udoka, 43, began his academic career at Utah State University Eastern (1995-97) before moving to the University of San Francisco (1997-98) and finishing at Portland State ( 1999-00).