Coach Pitino Resigns, Assistant Coach Jim O''Brien Is Interim

(Celtics Photo)

BOSTON, Jan. 8 -- The Boston Celtics announced today the resignation of President/Head Coach Rick Pitino and have named Associate Coach Jim O'Brien Interim Head Coach.

"I would like to thank Rick for his dedication and effort over the last three plus seasons," said Celtics Chairman of the Board Paul Gaston. "I have greatly enjoyed our relationship and consider his work ethic to be without equal. I wish Rick, Joanne and their family the best in future endeavors. "I am very confident in Jim O'Brien's ability to lead our team and he has the full support of the Celtics organization."

O'Brien, who has worked under Pitino for over 500 games, came to the Celtics with Pitino in 1997. O'Brien recorded his first victory as an NBA coach when he ran the ball club in Pitino's absence (due to illness) on April 17, 1998, a 78-71 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Prior to coming to the Celtics, O'Brien served as an assistant at Wheeling Jesuit College (1974-75), Pembroke State College (1975-76), University of Maryland (1976-77), St. John's University (1977-78), and University of Oregon (1978-82) before taking his first head coaching position at Wheeling Jesuit College (1982-87).

O'Brien joined Pitino's staff at the New York Knicks, serving as an assistant from 1987-1989. He then went onto serve as Head Coach at the University of Dayton from 1989-94. O'Brien led the Flyers to a 22-10 record and a MCC Tournament Championship in his first season.

Attached is a statement from Rick Pitino on his resignation as President/Head Coach of the Boston Celtics.

Statement From Rick Pitino:

I want to thank Paul Gaston and the entire organization for their loyalty and support. It has been a great privilege to coach the greatest basketball tradition in sports. Top to bottom it is a first class franchise. Coach Auerbach, Tom Heinsohn, Bob Cousy, Bill Russell and many other Celtic legends have been a true inspiration to me.

I wish we could have accomplished more between the lines, but I am proud with the efforts of my staff and players. We will always be Celtic fans and hope that Paul Gaston gets what he deserves as an owner, another Championship banner.

I look forward to spending the next few weeks with my family as I decide my future in basketball.

Thank you,

Rick Pitino