Celtics

Celtics announce full staff for new head coach Ime Udoka

Joe Mazzulla and Tony Dobbins are two holdovers.

Ime Udoka
Boston Celtics head coach and development coach with the 2021 USA Basketball Men's National Team Ime Udoka attends a USA Basketball practice. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Celtics announced the full staff for new head coach Ime Udoka on Tuesday, which includes two holdovers and a host of new faces.

The holdovers among the assistant coaches from Brad Stevens’s staff include Joe Mazzulla and Tony Dobbins.

Mazzulla — who played Division I hoops at West Virginia — was an assistant coach at Fairmont State before being picked up by the Maine Red Claws as an assistant. Mazzulla was then hired to be Fairmont State’s head coach before the Celtics poached him back as an assistant. He has worked extensively with Romeo Langford and was one of the masterminds behind Langford’s now-famous ping-pong paddle workout when the rookie guard was rebuilding his shot form.

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Dobbins, meanwhile, played college basketball at Virginia Tech and Richmond before an extensive overseas career. When he returned, he was brought in as part of the Celtics’ video team. Last season, he was promoted to assistant coach and worked extensively with Jaylen Brown, who praised his workouts.

“Tony’s got some stuff, man,” Brown said. “He’s got some really good stuff in his bag. He leaves no detail, no stone unturned. … He understands it too.”

Udoka also added four new coaches to his bench, many of whom have connections to Udoka’s hometown of Portland.

Will Hardy is one of the top names — a coveted assistant in NBA circles who was Udoka’s first hire. Hardy started as a video coordinator with the Spurs in 2013 and became an assistant in 2015. He told a panel in 2020 that he appreciated how open the Spurs head coaches were to their assistants.

“It’s always been about being selfless,” Hardy said. “Coach Pop says all the time, ‘Get over yourself. It ain’t about you.’ No one person is bigger than this and that goes from him all the way down.”

Udoka also brought on Damon Stoudamire — the NBA veteran and former Rookie of the Year who most recently was the head coach at Pacific. Stoudamire helped turn Pacific around as a program and won 2019-20 Coach of the Year honors in the Western Athletic Conference, leading the Tigers to a 23-10 record before the season shut down due to COVID-19. Stoudamire is a Portland native.

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Ben Sullivan was born in Boston, but he went to high school at Lake Oswego in Oregon and played college basketball at Portland. Udoka helped him get a job as a video coordinator with the Spurs, where he worked his way up onto the player development staff. From there, he was hired by both the Hawks and Bucks as an assistant. In Milwaukee, Sullivan was tasked with helping Giannis Antetokounmpo develop his shot.

Finally, Udoka added Aaron Miles. A former star high-school player in Portland, Miles helped Kansas make consecutive Final Fours. He played overseas until 2015, then returned to the states to become an assistant coach. After a season at Florida Gulf Coast University, Miles was hired to become the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors — Golden State’s G-League affiliate. Miles was later promoted to a role in player development on Steve Kerr’s staff.

“Aaron has stood out as a leader at every stop in his playing career and as a collegiate assistant coach,” then-Warriors GM Kent Lacob said, when Miles was hired to the Santa Cruz staff.

The Celtics also announced their player enhancement staff, which includes Evan Bradds — who has been with the organization for years — as well as Garrett Jackson, DJ MacLeay and Steve Tchiengang.

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Matt Reynolds — another holdover from the previous Celtics administration — will be a special assistant to Udoka.

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