On this day in Boston Celtics history, former Celtics head coach and President of Basketball Operations Rick Pitino resigned from his posts with the storied franchise back in 2001.
Having joined the Celtics organization in 1997 in his second stint in the NBA (he had previously been the head coach of the New York Knicks) after nearly winning a national title with the Kentucky Wildcats at the NCAA level, losing in overtime to Arizona. Things did not go so well with the Celtics however, with his impatience with the roster and resulting trades failing to produce a winning record during his tenure.
This would result in a 102-146 record during his tenure, as well as the famous “Larry Bird is not walking through that door” rant.
Jamie Squire /Allsport
Unable to adapt to the NBA, Pitino instead chose to resign. Speaking to the media upon his planned exit, the New York native said (via ABC news’ Jimmy Golen):
“Sometimes change is good just for the sake of change when things aren’t going well … I love the Boston Celtics and I’ll always be a fan … This organization has treated me like royalty since I came here. But you know, I’ve been going at this pretty hard now for three and a half years and I haven’t seen many results. It hurts, but life goes on and it will for the players and for the people in this organization.”
Pitino would be replaced by assistant coach Jim O’Brien.
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
It is also the anniversary of former Celtic champion center Robert Parish pulling down his 13,000th rebound in a 102-88 win over the (then) New Jersey (now, Brooklyn) Nets.
Chief — as he was called — became just the ninth person in league history at that time to hit that lofty number, where he currently sits in eighth place, just behind Karl Malone and a little ahead of Kevin Garnett.
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