The 34-year-old is said to be finalizing a 5-year deal with Jazz
The Utah Jazz has chosen a new, young face to lead the organization forward.
Will Hardy, a former San Antonio Spurs assistant and current assistant to the Boston Celtics, has been offered the head coach position at the Utah Jazz and plans to accept it, according to a report by ESPN and The Athletic Tuesday. The Tribune first reported that Hardy was a leading candidate on Saturday.
Hardy’s hiring indicates a long-term focus of the organization. When choosing Hardy, they avoided coaches like Terry Stotts, Mike D’Antoni, or Frank Vogel with previous coaching experience to immediately correct a jazz ship. They’ve also skipped appointing someone with outright ties to star guard Donovan Mitchell, such as former assistant jazz coach Jonny Bryant, or to Rudy Gobert, such as current assistant jazz coach Alex Jensen.
Hardy, 34, will be the franchise’s sixth head coach since they moved to Utah in 1979, and looks set to sign a five-year contract.
According to the league’s source, Hardy impressed the Jazz team heavily in his multiple interviews with team executives, making the selection “easy”. Hardy wasn’t necessarily the favorite when the interviews started, but he “stunned” Jazz decision-makers in the interviews, and those who worked with him in San Antonio and Boston were very positive about Hardy as a head coach in the NBA.
This differentiated Hardy from the other finalists for the job, which ESPN reported included Jensen, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and Celtics assistant Joe Mazzola.
And on Tuesday, it was reported that Jazz was also set to bring in the longtime NBA coach David Wiesdal, but not to the technical staff Hardy. Instead, they are appointing him as assistant general manager to work alongside CEO Danny Inge and general manager Justin Zanic. ESPN was the first to report the rental.
Hardy played college basketball at Williams College in Massachusetts, then found a role with Tottenham as a video coach thanks to a mutual friend who knew Tottenham coach Greg Popovich well in 2010. He was officially appointed as Tottenham’s video coordinator from 2013-15, after which he was promoted to assistant Coach.
“You’re now a coach for the San Antonio Spurs,” (Popovich) said, “Hardy He told the Boston Globe In an interview last year. “I was distraught and happy and scared to death. I remember calling my wife and saying, ‘I’m sure Bob made me an assistant coach. I don’t know. I should get some clarity on this, because he said it so quickly, as only Bob can. Then turn off my phone. “
Six years later, when fellow Tottenham assistant coach Aime Odoka was appointed by the Celtics to be their next coach, Odoka hired Hardy to be among his main assistants. Hardy never interfered with then-CEO of Celtics and current CEO of Jazz Danny Ainge, who resigned from his Boston job in June 2021, while Hardy was hired later this month.
Odoka and his cohorts then led the Celtics to the NBA Finals this season, before losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
Hardy will also be the youngest coach in the NBA. In fact, he is the youngest of the two players currently on the Jazz roster, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley.
But Hardy says he has a similar approach to some old-school NBA coaches, too; In particular, his mentor Popovich. He spoke at the 2020 Coaches Conference on how Spurs’ culture demands hard work:
“If you don’t actually do all of these things every day, your culture is nothing,” Hardy He said. “So it was always about being selfless. Coach Bob says all the time, ‘Beat yourself. It’s not about you. There is no one greater than this and this stems from him all the way.”
This story will be updated.
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