Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics are in Indianapolis for a Friday night matchup with the Indiana Pacers.
The former Butler head coach returned to the school he brought to back-to-back Final Fours earlier in the day, according to the Indy Star. Stevens was attending a retirement ceremony for Butler’s longtime sports information director Jim McGrath.
Since Stevens’ jump to the NBA in July 2013, the program has entered the Big East Conference, and is currently on its second different head coach. Former Butler guard Brandon Miller was tabbed as Stevens’ successor, serving as head coach for one season. He took a leave of absence on October 2, leaving his duties to assistant coach Chris Holtmann.
After guiding the Bulldogs to an 11-4 start, which included a win over then-No. 5 North Carolina, Holtmann had his interim tag removed and agreed to a multi-year contract with the university. In his first game as the permanent head coach, Butler knocked off No. 15 St. John’s on the road.
On Friday, Stevens discussed the state of the program with Curt Cavin of the Indy Star. The Celtics coach remains a follower, even from afar.
“First and foremost, my heart and my sympathies are with Brandon and his family,” Stevens told Cavin. “I’m very excited that they had a person like Chris there (on staff) and the staff that was there with (assistant coaches) Michael Lewis and Terry Johnson. Those guys who were there with me really handled a tough situation fantastic, and I’m really happy that’s going to be a long-term thing now with Chris at the helm.
“I thought all those guys did just a marvelous job. I’m happy for them and you can bet I want them to beat ‘X’ (Xavier) tomorrow.”
This may have been a homecoming of sorts for Stevens, but he has been a topic of discussion a month ago, when he had to shoot down speculation that he could take over at Indiana, given the extended rebuilding process going on in Boston following the Rajon Rondo trade.
Stevens is in the second year of a six-year deal with Boston. Tom Crean, in his seventh season in Bloomington, has the Hoosiers 11-4 on the season.