Damon Stoudamire, who has served as Celtics Coach Joe Mazzulla’s top assistant this season, will reportedly leave to become the head coach at Georgia Tech. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Georgia Tech moved quickly to put a new leader in charge of its struggling men’s basketball program, hiring longtime NBA guard Damon Stoudamire as the new Yellow Jackets coach on Monday.

The 49-year-old Stoudamire comes to the Atlantic Coast Conference school from the Boston Celtics, where he had been an assistant coach since 2021. The Celtics were in Atlanta this past weekend to play the Hawks.

Stoudamire’s only previous head coaching experience was at Pacific, where he compiled a 71-77 record over five seasons. He was the West Coast Conference coach of the year in 2020.

Georgia Tech didn’t take long to replace Josh Pastner, who was fired on Friday after the Yellow Jackets capped a 15-18 season with a second-round loss to Pittsburgh in the ACC Tournament.

Stoudamire now heads a program that has made only one NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 13 years.

“Coach Stoudamire’s success and credibility as a player and coach at both the collegiate and professional levels make him a great fit to lead our program,” Athletic Director J Batt said in a statement. “He will serve as an outstanding mentor on and off the court and will attract talented student-athletes to the Flats.”


Stoudamire was a collegiate star at Arizona, helping lead the Wildcats to the 1994 Final Four. He was selected No. 7 overall in the 1995 NBA draft by the Toronto Raptors and earned rookie of the year honors.

He went on to average 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per game over a 13-year pro career that included stints with the Portland Trail Blazers (1998-05), Memphis Grizzlies (2005-08) and San Antonio Spurs (2008).

Stoudamire said he was “humbled and honored” to land a job with the Yellow Jackets, who won the ACC title two years ago but have largely been a non-factor on the national stage for more than a decade.

That’s a far cry from the powerhouse program that Bobby Cremins built in the 1980s and ’90s, featuring stars such as Mark Price, Kenny Anderson, John Salley, Stephon Marbury and Dennis Scott.

The Yellow Jackets reached the Final Four for the first time in 1990, and made it all the way to the national championship game in 2004 under Cremins’ successor, Paul Hewitt.

“It is an incredible honor to be entrusted with leading such a tradition-rich program,” Stoudamire said. “I am excited to get to work with the goal of consistently having our team compete at the championship level that we all know we can and should compete at.”


Stoudamire has served as first-year head coach Joe Mazzulla’s top assistant this season, and even filled in for two games as an interim coach in December when Mazzulla suffered an eye injury after playing pickup basketball. He picked up his first two NBA wins in the Celtics’ victories over the Rockets and Clippers.

Celtics players were happy to see Stoudamire get that opportunity after becoming a favorite inside the locker room over the last two seasons.
“Damon (is) one of my favorite people in the organization,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said. “Just a veteran, a lot of experiences in different places – playing, coaching, assistant coaching. So Damon’s one of my favorite people.”

In an interesting twist, Stoudamire was an assistant at Memphis from 2009-11 after Pastner took over as head coach for John Calipari, and returned to the Tigers for Pastner’s final season at the school in 2015-16.

Stoudamire also has been an assistant with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies as well as a two-year stint at his alma mater.

In his only head coaching job, he took over at Pacific in 2016 with the program coming off an 8-20 campaign. His best season was a 23-10 mark in 2019-20, when the Tigers won a school-record 11 WCC games and he was named conference coach of the year.

But he finished with a losing record overall and never guided the Tigers to a postseason berth.


Now, Stoudamire will get a chance to improve on his resume in the ACC.

ROBERT WILLIAMS III will miss his fifth consecutive game on Monday night in Houston as he continues to recover from a left hamstring strain. Mazzulla said last week that the estimated timetable for his return would be 7-10 days since the injury, so a return on Wednesday in Minnesota is possible. … Payton Pritchard will also miss Monday’s game due to heel pain. The guard could miss the entire trip.

MARCUS SMART was fined $25,000 by the NBA for pulling Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young to the floor and initiating an on-court altercation, the league announced.

The altercation occurred late in Boston’s 134-125 win over Atlanta on Saturday.

With 1:25 remaining and Boston leading 129-121, Young and Smart had to be separated after they were entangled and fell to the court under the Celtics’ basket. Smart was called for an initial foul before a lengthy review by the officials called both players for technical fouls and ejected Smart.

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