When you’re a 34-year-old married man with two kids, planning your life and moving across the country is about as daunting as it gets.
But doing it as the new head coach of an NBA team, hungry for a championship with plenty of pieces in place, packing up and moving around the country doesn’t seem quite as tricky.
As the new coach of the Utah Jazz, that’s precisely what Will Hardy did last week. Joined by Jazz analyst Holly Rowe, Utah was able to document Hardy’s move to the beautiful snow-capped mountains of Salt Lake City — asking questions along the way to help better understand who the Jazz’s new leader is.
When Hardy was introduced as head coach of the Utah Jazz, the first reaction from fans in the league was “Who?”
With a few veteran coaches available – namely Terry Stotts and Frank Vogel – the Jazz opted to start from scratch and leave with a leader for the first time. While the fan reaction was oddly worried, those inside the league cheered the rental.
Hardy was already widely regarded in NBA circles as one of the league’s promising young assistants. With this hire, he now becomes the ninth head coach in Jazz franchise history and the youngest active head coach in the NBA.
Hardy’s NBA journey began in San Antonio in 2010 as a video intern under legendary Gregg Popovich. From 2013 to 2015, he served as Spurs’ team video coordinator before being promoted to the Popovich coaching staff, where he also coached San Antonio’s summer league teams for four consecutive years.
“I couldn’t be happier that Will had the opportunity to lead one of the best programs in the league at the Utah Jazz,” Popovich said. “His intelligence, his ability to teach and, above all, his manner, command the immediate respect of players, management and staff. He is a competitive young man who understands the responsibilities of the position and no one will work harder to continue. the success the Jazz have enjoyed for so long.”
He got his break last season when he joined the Boston Celtics as a senior assistant to head coach Ime Udoka. He helped further the development of the Celtics’ big three, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. A team that reached the NBA Finals for the first time in over a decade.
“Will has a great basketball spirit,” Udoka said. “I’ve watched his growth since our time together in San Antonio and throughout our season in Boston. He was an integral part of what we accomplished and will do great things in Utah.”