What happens now that Ime Udoka has been suspended for the season but not fired?
The Celtics are now without their head coach, but they haven’t terminated his contract either. What happens from here is anybody’s guess.
As fallout continues, after the discovery of an inappropriate workplace relationship between the Celtics coach and a staff member, there’s now official word on his suspension and it’s going to be long.
Celtics’ Ime Udoka suspended for entire season
According to an official announcement on Thursday, the Boston Celtics have officially suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the entire 2022-23 season over “violations of team policies.” With his suspension effective immediately, it’s understood that the franchise will take some time to make a decision on Udoka’s future. Regarding who will act as coach for the time being, reports indicate that assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will reportedly serve as interim coach, however, there was no further word as to would take control on the team in the long term.
What has Ime Udoka said about the situation?
Though Udoka seemingly considered resigning, following news of his alleged consensual but improper relationship with a team staff member, he later declined to do so. The Celtics coach did however, release a statement of his own in which he addressed his actions. “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
What career path has Ime Udoka had?
A first-year coach, Udoka was hired by Boston last June after Brad Stevens, Udoka’s predecessor, took over as team president. With Udoka holding the reigns, the Celtics got off to a 23-24 start and some wondered if the franchise had made a mistake, but it wouldn’t be long before Boston began to dominate, winning 28 of their remaining 35 games. To cap things off, they went to the NBA Finals where they faced and lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. Impressive for a first year.
Before his time in Boston, Udoka served as assistant coach to Greg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs for seven seasons, before spending a year with both Brett Brown and the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as Steve Nash and the Brooklyn Nets.
What about Ime Udoka’s stand in? Joe Mazulla?
If there is a silver lining in the scenario, it’s that Mazzulla served as an assistant to both Udoka and Stevens before him. Indeed, Mazzulla has got a wealth of experience on his CV, having started out as an assistant back in 2013-14 at Fairmont State. After three years there, Mazzulla would join the Celtics’ G League affiliate, then known as the Maine Red Claws, for one year. Interestingly, Mazzulla would once again return to Fairmont State where he’d go on to spend two years, during which time he spearheaded a 43-17 run which ended with a first-round exit in the 2019 NCAA Division II Tournament.