BYU basketball alumnus Danny Ainge steps down as Boston Celtics president after 18 years
The Boston Celtics announced on Wednesday that president of basketball operations and former BYU basketball star Danny Ainge is leaving the organization after 18 years in the front office.
“This is a bittersweet day,” Ainge said during a press conference announcing his departure. The change comes less than 24 hours after the Celtics were eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Brooklyn Nets. Current head coach Brad Stevens will take over in Ainge’s role as president of basketball operations, the team announced.
Ainge’s relationship with the Celtics began almost immediately after he finished an All-American career at BYU and was drafted in the second round of the 1981 NBA Draft by Boston.
He went on to win two championships with the Celtics as a player, in 1984 and 1986, and then won another one as president in 2008, the same year he was named NBA Executive of the Year.
Ainge led the Cougars to national success during his four-year playing career, including hitting a game-winner in the 1981 NCAA Tournament to send BYU to the Elite Eight for just the third time in program history. He was given the John R. Wooden Award that season, awarded to the best player in college basketball.
Austin Ainge, Danny’s son, played for BYU as well in the mid-2000’s, and works as the director of player personnel for the Celtics, a position he has held since 2011.
Though Ainge said he does not have any plans for his immediate future at the moment, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix linked the former Cougar to another NBA team: the Utah Jazz.
The Jazz organization has gone through some major changes in the last year, with BYU alumnus Ryan Smith purchasing the team and bringing on NBA star Dwyane Wade as a partial owner. The team earned the best record in the NBA this season and is poised for a deep playoff run.