If you want to know how much Damon Stoudamire's new job means to him, just watch the first minute of his press conference Tuesday.
The former Boston Celtics assistant was introduced as Georgia Tech's new men's basketball head coach Tuesday, joining Georgia Tech president Angel Cabrera and athletic director J Batt as he met the media one day after leaving the C's in Houston.
After speeches from Cabrera and Batt, Stoudamire took the microphone and managed just one word -- "Wow" -- before being overtaken by emotion.
Stoudamire was speechless for nearly a full minute before the crowd broke out in applause.
"It's been a long time coming," Stoudamire finally said.
The No. 7 pick in the 1995 NBA Draft and the 1996 Rookie of the Year, Stoudamire enjoyed a 15-year playing career before entering the coaching ranks. The 49-year-old indeed has had a long journey on the coaching side, starting out as the director of player development at Rice University in 2009 before stops with the Memphis Grizzlies, the University of Memphis, the University of Arizona, Pacific University and the Celtics.
Stoudamire does have head coaching experience, going 71-77 over five seasons at Pacific from 2016 to 2021 before joining the Celtics' staff in July 2021. But he'll face a tall task at Georgia Tech, which sputtered to a 15-18 record this season in the highly-competitive ACC.
It sounds like he's eager for the challenge.
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"I'm excited beyond belief to be here," Stoudamire said. " ... This is a tradition-rich program, and one that aspires to get back to winning championships. We're going to galvanize the community, the student body, and just get this thing going in the right direction."
Stoudamire's departure is a tough blow for the Celtics: He was the only assistant on staff with NBA playing experience and a valuable resource for both head coach Joe Mazzulla and his players.
"I loved having Damon around," Jaylen Brown said Monday, via Celtics.com's Taylor Snow. "He’s probably one of my favorite people in the organization, so it’s tough. But I’m extremely excited for him to start his journey, especially in my hometown (of Atlanta)."
Based on Stoudamire's reaction Tuesday, however, it's clear this opportunity was a lifelong dream for the basketball lifer and one he simply couldn't pass up.