Maine Celtics Coach Blaine Mueller puts the ball into motion during a drill at practice. Mueller, who guided the team to its first appearance in the G League Finals, is leaving Maine after one season to join the staff of the Charlotte Hornets. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

After leading the Maine Celtics to their best finish in franchise history, Blaine Mueller is leaving and returning to the NBA.

Mueller is joining the Charlotte Hornets as an assistant coach, the team announced Wednesday in a tweet revealing its coaching staff for the upcoming NBA season.

Mueller leaves Maine after one season, during which he guided the Celtics to their first NBA G League Finals appearance. Maine finished 24-15, and beat the Delaware Blue Coats and Long Island Nets in the Eastern Conference playoffs before meeting the Oklahoma City Blue in the Finals. Maine routed Oklahoma City in the first game, but dropped the final two games to lose the series.

Mueller oversaw a late turnaround in Maine as the Celtics were 11-11 in late February before surging with wins in 12 of their next 14 games to make the Finals for the first time.

Before taking the Maine job, Mueller, a 2014 University of Wisconsin graduate, had worked as a player development assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2018-22 before being promoted to an assistant coach with the team for the 2022-23 season. He was hired to coach the Maine Celtics, his first head coaching job, last September.

Mueller’s departure means the Celtics will be looking for their sixth coach in as many G League seasons. Before Mueller’s hiring, the Celtics were coached by Alex Barlow, while current General Manager Jarell Christian and Darren Erman also coached for single seasons

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