Pacific head coach Damon Stoudamire, who was 71-77 in five seasons with the Tigers and quickly becoming a major name in the mid-major coaching world, announced Wednesday that he was leaving the school to join the coaching staff of the Boston Celtics. He will work under friend and fellow Portland-native Ime Udoka, who was hired by Brad Stevens last month.
Stoudamire’s name had been popping up for a number of higher profile jobs – namely his alma mater, Arizona – this offseason following the major overhaul he orchestrated within the Pacific program. After winning just 11 games in his first season (2016-17), the Tigers went 23-10 in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season and likely would have been in the NIT field for the first time since 1998. He was named 2020 WCC Coach of the Year and honored with the 2020 Ben Jobe Award as the top minority head coach in college basketball.
Udoka comes to the Celtics after one year each in Brooklyn and Philadelphia and seven seasons on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio. He is a few years younger than Stoudamire but they both came up on the same Portland circuit and crossed paths a few times during their respective NBA careers, most recently with the Spurs in 2008.
Stoudamire has some NBA coaching experience, having spent two seasons as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies (2009-11) before launching his successful college coaching career. In addition to two seasons at his alma mater, he spent three years at Memphis assisting fellow Arizona-grad Josh Pastner.
credit to James Snook/USA TODAY Sports for the photo