The Boston Celtics announced Thursday morning that Joe Mazzulla has officially been named the team’s head coach, replacing Ime Udoka, and also received a contract extension.
“As he has shown, Joe is a very talented coach and leader,” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said in a statement announcing the decision. “He has a unique ability to galvanize a room around a mission. 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.”
Terms of the extension were not announced.
Mazzulla, 34, was named the team’s interim coach back in September — just days before the start of training camp — after Udoka was suspended by the team for the 2022-23 season for multiple violations of team rules.
He has since led Boston to the NBA’s best record (42-17) entering the All-Star Break, and will be coaching Team Giannis this weekend in the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City.
Boston began the season 18-4, and currently has the NBA’s third-best offensive rating and fourth-best defensive rating — making the Celtics the only team to reside in the top five in both categories. Only Cleveland and Philadelphia are in the top 10.
“All things considered, everything that we’ve went through this season as a team with coaching changes and guys getting injured, missing games and being in and out of the lineup. … Overall, it’s been a hell of a start,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum said after Wednesday’s win.
Thursday’s announcement marks the continuation of a rapid ascent up the coaching ladder for Mazzulla, who was an assistant at Division II Fairmont State in West Virginia 10 years ago. He joined Boston’s G League affiliate as an assistant coach in 2016.
He then returned to Fairmont as its head coach for two years before joining Stevens’ staff as an assistant in 2019. He stayed as an assistant when Udoka took over following Stevens’ promotion to Celtics president in 2021.