Announced on Wednesday afternoon, Will Hardy has been named the new head coach of the Utah Jazz.
Here are five things to know about Utah's new leading man.
1.) Age Ain't Nothing But A Number
While a lot of talk will be centered around Hardy's coaching lineage — a very impressive one at that — lost in the shuffle is the fact that he will be the youngest head coach in the NBA this season.
At 34 years old, Hardy is the same age as star point guard Mike Conley while being joined in the 30+ club by Rudy Gobert, Jordan Clarkson, and Bojan Bogdanovic. His age is an advantage because it should allow him to connect better with the players — or peers — one and off the court.
Some may not like that the Jazz went with a first-time head coach, especially one so young, but Hardy is out to prove that age is just a number and will have no bearing on the results on the court.
2.) Impressive Coaching Journey
His NBA journey began in San Antonio in 2010 as a video intern under the legendary Gregg Popovich. From 2013-15, he was the Spurs team video coordinator before being promoted to Popovich's coaching staff where he also led San Antonio’s summer league squads for four consecutive years.
“I couldn’t be happier that Will has been given the opportunity to lead one of the finest programs in the league in the Utah Jazz,” Popovich said. “His intelligence, ability to teach, and most importantly his manner, brings immediate respect from players, management, and staff. He’s a competitive young man who understands the responsibilities of the position and no one will work harder to continue the success the Jazz have enjoyed for so long.”
He got his big break last season when he joined the Boston Celtics as a lead assistant for head coach Ime Udoka. He helped continue the development of Celtics' big three Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. A team that reached the NBA Finals for the first time in over a decade.
“Will has a great basketball mind,” Udoka said. “I’ve watched his growth from our time together in San Antonio and throughout our season in Boston. He was an integral part of what we accomplished and will do great things in Utah.”
3.) He Has Been A Head Coach Before
When Hardy takes the court as head coach of the Jazz in October, it won't be the first time he's been tasked as a leading man.
For four years, he served as the head coach of San Antonio's Summer League team from 2015-2018, getting a taste of what life would be like as a head coach.
4.) Experience With Current Roster
Despite being a first-year guy on the job, Hardy has previous experience working with and against a trio of Jazz players.
Back in 2019, Hardy teamed up with Mitchell when he served as an assistant coach for USA's FIBA team. He also worked with Rudy Gay from 2017-2021 when both were with the Spurs.
Hardy is also knowledgeable of Gobert, having served as an assistant coach in Team USA's gold medal victory over Gobert and France at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
5.) He's A Former Player
From the very beginning of his playing career, Hardy has always wanted to become a student of the game. It's why he passed on lower-level Division I offers out of high school to attend Division III Williams College, a school much more renowned for its academics than its basketball.
There, he cultivated his appreciation for the game as both a player and someone who saw the game differently.
As a 6-foot-6 wing, he helped lead the Ephs to an 80-31 record and two berths in the D-III NCAA Tournament — falling to Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the national championships game as a senior.
Combining his skillset on and off the court, it's no wonder why Hardy has been widely regarded as one of the up-and-coming coaches in the NBA for several years — and now, at 34, he'll have the chance to prove that he belongs.