When the Celtics tip off their 2020-21 season against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night, Brad Stevens will begin his eighth season as the C's head coach -- more than all but three coaches in franchise history.
But Stevens almost never came to Boston in the first place.
Appearing on a new episode of NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Talk Podcast, Michael Holley revealed how Stevens initially refused Boston's contract offer so he could remain at Butler, only changing course thanks to some sage advice from his wife, Tracy.
Flash back to 2013 when Stevens was one of the hottest young basketball minds in the country, leading Butler to five NCAA Tournament appearances in a six-year stretch that included consecutive runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011. He had turned down offers from larger collegiate programs when Danny Ainge came calling.
"Danny Ainge went to Brad Stevens and he said, 'Hey, you know, I want you to coach the Celtics. I've always been a big fan of yours,'" Holley told host Chris Forsberg. "Brad talks to Tracy and says, 'Oh man, this is great. Wow, the Boston Celtics! This is great, but no.' He turned him down. He turned it down initially."
So what changed Brad's mind?
"Can I just speak from my experience? Women are so much smarter than men," Holley continued. "So (Tracy) went to Brad and -- this is like poetry. She said, 'You'll never be as good as you can unless you're uncomfortable.' Like, hey -- 'We love Butler, Butler's been great to us. We got a lifetime contract here, but you know what? You got to push yourself. Go to the NBA. Do it.' And that's what made him change his mind."
Maybe Tracy Stevens passed along that wisdom as a wife. Maybe she had that advice as her husband's agent (since she also serves in that capacity).
Either way, the decision has paid off for the Celtics. Arriving in the NBA as the league's youngest head coach at age 36, Stevens' 318 wins are the sixth-highest total of any coach in that timespan, and he's led the C's to the Eastern Conference Finals three times in the last four seasons.
In addition to that interesting story, Holley also discussed his new book on the Celtics' 2008 championship run -- "The Big Three: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and the Rebirth of the Boston Celtics" -- on the Celtics Talk Podcast, which you can check out on your favorite podcast app or watch on YouTube below.