Boston Celtics

Oct 31, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s official, the Celtics have hired Ime Udoka as their next head coach. Udoka becomes the 18th head coach in C’s history.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise. Coaching this talented roster and working alongside Brad makes it an ideal situation,” said Udoka in a press release.

Udoka has a long history in the NBA, which includes on the court and off. The Oregon native played 12 years of professional basketball, seven of which were in the NBA. He bounced around the league from 2004-2011 playing in Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Sacramento, and San Antonio. In addition, Udoka played for Nigeria in international competition, winning two bronze medals at the African Championships.

Then in 2012, Udoka hung up his playing shoes to take a role as an assistant coach for the Spurs. He spent seven years in San Antonio learning under Gregg Popovich, including an NBA Championship season in 2014. From there, Udoka spent one season with the 76ers and, most recently, the 2020-21 season with the Brooklyn Nets.

Udoka already has ties with multiple Celtics players. He was an assistant coach on Team USA during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, when he coached Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. Reports say those three were consulted during the hiring process and all gave their stamp of approval for Udoka.

“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. “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.”

Coach 18 looking for Banner 18.

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