Pitino Steps Down
Coach Pitino Resigns, Assistant Coach Jim O''Brien Is Interim
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
I look forward to spending the next few weeks with my family as I decide my
future in basketball.