Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens has heard his name mentioned as a potential candidate for the coaching vacancy at Indiana University. Stevens was born and raised in Indiana, he played college ball at DePauw and coached at Butler -- two schools in the state, so there are certainly links there. But, while Stevens is appreciative of the support that he has in his home state, he made it clear that he has no plans of leaving his current position with the Celtics.
"It means a lot," Stevens said, via ESPN. "It means a lot. I know that ... listen, I've got a lot of friends back there. I've got a lot of people that are really important to me there. My dad's still there. That does mean a lot. I won't act like that doesn't. Like I said earlier today, it's flattering. But I also realize that I'm the coach of the Celtics and that's -- it's been an amazing opportunity, an amazing challenge every day for the last eight years and I'm extremely grateful for that."
Indiana fired coach Archie Miller earlier this month after four underwhelming seasons, and they're now in the hunt for a replacement that will lead them back to national prominence. The Hoosiers haven't won a national championship since 1987, and they haven't made a Final Four since 2002.
"Listen, every job has its challenges," Stevens replied when asked about Indiana's recent string of struggles. "Every job has its great things. I don't really wanna act like I know. I know -- and I said this today -- obviously, I have a great affinity for that state and basketball in that state. That place was a huge part of what drove my passion for basketball. In fact, it was the central thing. I don't know what challenges each place has because you don't work there. But I know when you're a kid growing up in that state, basketball means a lot and the college programs in the state mean a ton. And, for me growing up, it was certainly IU.
"But you know, hey, I think Archie is a good coach and he did a really good job of preparing [current Celtic] Romeo [Langford]. I thought when Romeo came in you could tell he was advanced in a lot of ways. I've known Arch for a while, I haven't talked to him much. I think, in coaching, you always recognize how hard it is to be good, how hard it is to win."
While Stevens may be flattered by hearing his name mentioned as someone people in his home state would like to see take the helm at Indiana, he can't afford to spend too much time thinking about it. The Celtics currently sit sixth in the standings, and they are in the midst of a tight battle for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. Moving forward they'll need an extreme level of focus, and paying attention to distractions -- like rumors about Steven's future -- won't help.