Really? Brad Stevens? You mean the guy that looks like he should be Richie Cunningham’s best friend on “Happy Days?” (Those of you 25 years or younger won’t get that reference…Google the show and you’ll see what I mean.)
That was my reaction back in July of 2013 when Mr. Stevens was named head coach of the Boston Celtics. “Those NBA behemoths will eat that guy alive,” I remember thinking to myself. Ain’t no way this howdy-doody looking young fella will ever earn respect from the hip hoopsters making a ka-jillion bucks per year. Wow, was that a busted forecast.
Brad Stevens has not only succeeded, he is consistently referred to by many in the league as one of the smartest, most respected coaches in the business.
It seems each day we are inundated with facts and figures about stars of the NBA. ESPN and other networks regularly hit us with birthdates, height, weight, schools attended and other this ‘n that information during games.
But what about this rising star Bradley Stevens? Just who is this fresh-faced fellow? Most of us know he coached very successfully at Butler, but what else do we know about him? I’ve done some fact-hunting I’m about to lay on y’all after doing a bit of investigating.
*Born: October 22, 1976 (Really? During the heyday of success for “Happy Days” on ABC?)
*Height: 6’ 1”
*Hometown: Zionsville, Indiana
*Hoops: Star player for Zionsville High School, setting four school records
*College: Played for DePauw University while earning a degree in economics. Named to all-conference hoop team, and earned Academic All American honors 3 times
*Coaching: Joined the Butler coaching staff as an assistant in 2000, named head coach in 2007
*Success? You bet. Third youngest coach in history to earn 30 wins in a season. By 2010 broke the NCAA record for most wins in a coach’s first three years. Became the youngest to coach in two Final Fours.
They say it’s easier to root for someone when you get to know them a bit better. I suspect this isn’t necessary in the case for the prodigy leading the Shamrocks these days. Coach Stevens is mighty easy to root for, as are the men accumulating the W’s.
Going to be a fun season, gang. And here’s my forecast: Brad Stevens-NBA coach of the year for 2017-18. Can I get an amen?