Celtics promote assistant Joe Mazzulla to interim head coach after Ime Udoka’s suspension

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joe mazzulla g Celtics promote assistant Joe Mazzulla to interim head coach after Ime Udoka's suspension

The Boston Celtics have suspended head coach Ime Udoka The entire 2022-23 season President of basketball operations Brad Stevens confirmed at a team press conference Friday that the team has hired assistant Joe Mazzulla as interim head coach for the season due to an “inappropriate, intimate and consensual relationship” with a female employee.

Stevens, he said, “absolutely not,” and he will coach the team, and he has full confidence in Mazzulla. “He’s an exceptionally sharp and talented person,” Stevens said. “Joe is the best choice [take over] By a long shot. It hits you as you go through the whole process, but we have the best people to do that, and Joe is the best person to do that in our company.”

Mazzulla has been an assistant with the Celtics since 2019, joining the staff after serving as the head coach of the Fairmont State men’s basketball team and posting a 43-17 record in his two seasons. Prior to that, he was an assistant at Glenville State. In addition to his college coaching career, Mazzulla also served as an assistant for the Celtics’ G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

Although Mazzulla has no coaching experience at the pro level, he is well-respected in the Celtics organization.

“When I was hired, I talked to everyone in the organization, including the players [Mazzulla] It received glowing reviews. I don’t know much about him going into it. I take the players’ opinions very seriously,” Udoka said in June via NBC Sports Boston. “He was a unanimous ‘yes’ guy. With someone they all worked closely with, trusted and understood his upside.”

Jayson Tatum has spoken highly of Mazzulla since he’s been on the team.

“He helped me a lot as a player and as a person,” Tatum said. “I can’t say enough good things about Joe. Everyone admires him and what he brings to this team. I’m excited to have him.”

However, Mazzulla comes with some baggage of his own He was arrested on charges of domestic battery He was a member of the West Virginia men’s basketball team in 2009. Mazzulla allegedly grabbed a woman by the neck at a bar in Morgantown, West Virginia, and was suspended indefinitely by the team. The year before, he was charged with underage drinking and aggravated assault while attending a Pittsburgh Pirates game.

Between the news of Udoka and Mazzulla potentially stepping in as interim head coach, the Celtics will certainly have a lot of questions to answer in the days leading up to media day and training camp. Beyond that, there will surely be an adjustment period for a Celtic side with championship aspirations heading into the season with Udoka out of the squad and a new head coach in place.

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