The Boston Celtics announced on Thursday evening that head coach Ime Udoka would be suspended for the entire 2022-23 season due to a violation of team conduct.
While not specified in their statement, reports around the league indicate that Udoka’s violation was involving an inappropriate relationship with a female member of Boston’s organization.
In Udoka’s absence, which could be permanent depending on what Boston decides to do, the team has promoted assistant coach Joe Mazzulla as interim head coach for this season. Understandably not a household name, fans around the league are curious who Boston’s new leader is.
Mazzulla’s basketball background
A standout basketball star Bishop Hendricken high school, Mazzulla was inducted to the school’s Hall-of-Fame in 2018. His stardom in high school basketball led him to West Virginia, where he won the NIT tournament in his freshman campaign. Following his college playing days, Mazzulla went un-drafted in 2011, and briefly furthered his career overseas.
Officially beginning his NBA coaching career as an assistant with the Boston Celtics during the 2019-20 season, Mazzulla quickly emerged as a developmental coach for Boston, playing a key role in the growth of several young players on that 2019-20 team. When Ime Udoka took over for Brad Stevens, Mazzulla was one of just two assistants from Stevens’ staff who remained.
An extensive basketball background, which includes coaching on the Boston Celtics staff, Mazzulla was an easy choice for the Celtics. That said, he does not come without his own track record of poor behavior.
Mazzulla’s legal trouble
In an interview with The Times West Virginia, Joe Mazzulla’s father revealed that his son was undergoing treatment following his second alcohol and violence related arrest. This incident, which occurred in 2009, occurred when Mazzulla allegedly grabbed a woman by the neck at a bar. This was just one year after Mazzulla was charged with underage drinking and fighting at an MLB game in 2008.
In the same piece where Mazzulla’s father revealed the steps his son was taking to control his alcohol abuse, he also stated that his son was struggling with his mental health. That combination was often a dangerous one for Joe Mazzulla and those around him, and it led to several instances of legal trouble.
Having kept a clean record in his time as an NBA assistant, there is reason to believe such behavior is a thing of the past for Joe Mazzulla, and he can lead the Boston Celtics without any poor behavior. Already in a difficult spot, the organization made this decision with that confidence in mind.
What do the players think of him?
Legal troubles or not, Mazzulla certainly has the support of players, who earlier in 2022 lobbied for him as Udoka mulled options to enhance his coaching staff.
At a press conference during the NBA Finals series, Jayson Tatum painted a picture of a young coach who had grown a lot since his first year from getting more comfortable in his role with the Celtics.
“Can’t say enough good things about Joe and everybody appreciates what he brings to this team,” Tatum said, in answer to a reporter’s question about Mazzulla. “You can tell how passionate he is about the guys and his craft and he’s gotten so much more knowledgeable and more detailed and just more vocal.”
“He’s helped me out tremendously as a player and as a person.”
Who is the Boston Celtics’ new interim head coach?
Joe Mazzulla was appointed as Boston’s new interim head coach following the suspension of Ime Udoka.
How old is Joe Mazzulla?
Joe Mazzulla is 34 years old.
Where is Joe Mazzulla from?
Boston Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla is from Johnston, Rhode Island.
What did Udoka do to get suspended?
Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the 2022-23 NBA season after having “an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff.”
How much coaching experience does Joe Mazzulla have?
Mazzulla has been coaching since 2011 when he was an assistant at Glenville State. He joined the Boston Celtics as assistant coach in 2019.
When did Joe Mazzulla join the Boston Celtics?
Joe Mazzulla joined the Boston Celtics as assistant coach in 2019.