Will Hardy, the Boston Celtics assistant coach who helped steer the team back to the NBA Finals this season, is reportedly finalizing a five-year deal to become the next head coach of the Utah Jazz, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Once a deal is reached, Hardy will step into the void left by Quin Snyder, who announced in June he would be stepping down from the role after eight seasons.
The Snyder era for the Jazz was largely successful, ending with 372-264 overall record, though the team never ascended to the heights of being a perennial NBA Finals contender and often struggled to make it beyond the first round.
In Hardy, the Jazz pivot from familiar experience to someone who, at age 34, will be the youngest active coach in the NBA. Still, while he has never led a team at the NBA level, Hardy’s basketball acumen has been touted at each stop of his NBA journey.
The 34-year-old broke into the NBA as a video intern with the San Antonio Spurs in 2010, learning from Gregg Popovich, the winningest head coach in NBA history, and his staff. Hardy became the Spurs’ video coordinator in 2013, a role in which he continued to make his presence felt, and held the role until 2015.
“Before long, he became the head of it, the guy that I depended on,” Popovich told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe earlier this year. ” If I wanted the post-ups or pick-and-rolls or to know why we sucked at something last night, he’d come in and say, ‘Well, look, this is what they did.’ He’d break it down for me. And I said, ‘Oh, my God, this guy is breaking stuff down just like we do.’”
After 2015, Hardy was promoted to a position with Popovich’s coaching staff. Last off-season, he left San Antonio and headed for Boston, reuniting with another former Spurs assistant, Ime Udoka.
The successful partnership made Hardy one of the more sought after candidates for head coaching vacancies this summer. In April, he interviewed for the Sacramento Kings’ position, though the team ultimately opted for experience, choosing former Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown.