A list of all Boston Celtics head coaches: Who is the greatest of them all?

A list of all Boston Celtics head coaches: Who is the greatest of them all?

Lenah Ann
updated at April 17, 2023 at 7:31 PM

The Boston Celtics are one of the most successful franchises in NBA history since they have won the most championships. Although all the credit has always gone to their fantastic players, the Boston Celtics head coaches also deserve some recognition for their immense contributions throughout the years.

All Celtics head coaches
A list of all Boston Celtics head coaches: Who is the greatest of them all? Photo: Dustin Bradford, Paul Marotta, Garrett Ellwood (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Founded in 1946, the Celtics have participated in 77 seasons, from 1946/47 to 2022/23, and have only hired 19 coaches. Some of them, like Red Auerbach and Tom Heinsohn, gave exemplary performances and are often considered the greatest NBA coaches of all time.

A list of the top 10 Celtics head coaches of all time

Excellent coaching skills have always been vital in producing the best players in any sport. Over the years, the Celtics have always had a great coaching staff who have brought home lucrative trophies and produced world-class basketball players.

According to various online sources, here are the top ten Boston Celtics head coaches who gave their all to see the team rise to stardom.

10. Dave Cowens

Celtics head coaches by year
Dave Cowens speaks after the Boston Celtics won 96-84 against the Orlando Magic in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on 28 May 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Elsa
Source: Getty Images

Dave is a former American retired professional basketball player and NBA head coach. He spent most of his playing career with the Boston Celtics and later became the team's head coach.

During his time as a player, he won the 1971 NBA Rookie of the Year award and the 1973 NBA Most Valuable Player. Additionally, in 1974 and 1976, the famous legend won the NBA championship with the Celtics and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

  • Full name: David William Cowens
  • Date of birth: 25 October 1948
  • Age: 74 years of age as of April 2023
  • Place of birth: Newport, Kentucky, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1978-1979
  • Years active: 1978-2009

9. Chris Ford

All Celtics head coaches
Chris Ford of the Los Angeles Clippers looks on during the basketball game against the Vancouver Grizzlies on 16 February 1999 in Anaheim, California, United States. Photo: Todd Warshaw
Source: Getty Images

Chris was an American basketball head coach and former NBA player. He was famous for making the first counted 3-point shot for the Boston Celtics in 1979 and winning the NBA championship before ending his playing career in 1982.

Ford served the Celtics from 1990 to 1995, and in 1991, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.

  • Full name: Christopher Joseph Ford
  • Date of birth: 11 January 1949
  • Age: Died at 74 years
  • Place of birth: Atlantic City, New Jersey, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1990-1995
  • Years active: 1983-2004

8. ML Carr

Celtics head coach with the most championships
ML Carr of the Celtics kneels on the sidelines during a game against the Orlando Magic at the Orlando Arena on 31 January 1996 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Allsport
Source: Getty Images

Carr is a former American basketballer in the NBA and ABA. He is also the former Celtics head coach and General Manager who posted a record of 48 wins and 116 losses during his two seasons with the team.

  • Full name: Michael Leon Carr
  • Date of birth: 9 January 1951
  • Age: 72 years of age as of April 2023
  • Place of birth: Wallace, North Carolina, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1995-1997
  • Years active: 1995-1997

7. Brad Stevens

Celtics head coaches by year
Celtics president Brad Stevens looks on prior to game two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on 19 May 2022 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Michael Reaves
Source: Getty Images

Among some of the best Celtics head coaches in history sits Brad Stevens, an American professional who transitioned into coaching after quitting his job at Eli Lilly and Company. He joined the Celtics on a six-year contract worth $22 million due to his success in his previous club, the Butler.

The famed legend undertook some rebuilding and has led his new team to the NBA playoffs each year since 2015. In doing so, Celtics won a divisional championship and consequently appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 and 2018.

  • Full name: Bradley Kent Stevens
  • Date of birth: 22 October 1976
  • Age: 46 years of age as of April 2023
  • Place of birth: Zionsville, Indiana, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 2013-2021
  • Years active: 2001-2021

6. Bill Fitch

All Celtics head coaches
The late Bill Fitch before game three of the 2013 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs on 11 June 2013 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Garrett Ellwood
Source: Getty Images

Bill is a former American basketball coach known for successfully developing several teams into playoff contenders. He was hired by the Celtics in 1979, leading the team to 61 wins with an Atlantic Division title.

His first season was also the first for Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketballers in history. During his second season, the team won 62 games and a second Atlantic title, defeated the Houston Rockets, and won the 1981 NBA Finals.

After the season, Bill won his second Coach of the Year Award, and in 2019, he was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • Full name: William Charles Fitch
  • Date of birth: 19 May 1932
  • Age: Died at 89 years
  • Place of birth: Davenport, Iowa, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1979-1983
  • Years active: 1956-1998

5. Doc Rivers

All Celtics head coaches
Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on in a game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on 27 March 2023 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Dustin Bradford
Source: Getty Images

Among all Celtics head coaches on the list, Rivers holds the lowest winning percentage of 57% despite training them for nine seasons. He led the team to win the 2008 NBA finals, the only one in his career and the most recent Celtics Championship in history.

The legend coached the second-most games in his tenure, 721, and ranked third in terms of wins among the Boston Celtics' previous head coaches.

  • Full name: Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers
  • Date of birth: 13 October 1961
  • Age: 61 years of age as of April 2023
  • Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 2004-2013
  • Years active: 1999 - Present

4. KC Jones

Celtics head coaches of all time
The late KC Jones during a basketball game circa 1991 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Jones coached 410 games in his five seasons with the Celtics and made four NBA Finals, winning two in 1984 and 1986. He is the only one in the National Basketball Association history to win a championship as a player and coach.

He won eight titles in nine seasons, the third-most in NBA history, and at the end of his tenure, Jones had the highest winning percentage of 75%, the third-highest of any NBA coach. In 2006, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach.

  • Full name: KC Jones
  • Date of birth: 25 May 1932
  • Age: Died at 88 years
  • Place of birth: Taylor, Texas, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1983-1988
  • Years active: player: 1967-1998

3. Bill Russell

Boston Celtics head coaches
Bill Russell presents the 2013 WEB Du Bois Medal to commissioner David Stern at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre on 2nd October 2013 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo: Paul Marotta
Source: Getty Images

Russell started with the Boston Celtics as a player-coach, and in his three years with the team, he coached 245 games as the head coach after Red Auerbach retired. He went down on record as the first African American head coach in the NBA.

The renowned legend led the Celtics to win two NBA Finals back-to-back in his three seasons. Although his 162 wins are less contrasted to other Boston Celtics head coaches, his success in a short period puts him among the top coaches.

  • Full name: William Felton "Bill" Russell
  • Date of birth: 12 February 1934
  • Age: Died at 88 years
  • Place of birth: Monroe, Louisiana, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1966-1969
  • Years active: 1966-1998

2. Tom Heinsohn

Celtics head coaches in history
Celtics head coach Tom Heinsohn looks on during an NBA game circa 1970-1978 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Raphael
Source: Getty Images

Tom coached 690 games for the Celtics right after Russell. He won two NBA Finals in 1974 and 1976 and the coach of the year award from 1972 to 1973, making him the only coach to win the award two times and one of three ever to win it.

Ranking the Celtics head coaches by year, Tom, with 427 wins, ranks second with 62%. His success earned him a place in the Hall of Fame as a player and coach.

  • Full name: Thomas William Heinsohn
  • Date of birth: 26 August 1934
  • Age: Died at 86 years
  • Place of birth: Jersey City, New Jersey, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1969-1978
  • Years active: 1969-1978

1. Red Auerbach

Red is considered one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time. Out of the 11 NBA Finals appearances, he won nine with the Celtics, the second-most in the National Basketball Association history.

He won 8 championships in a row which is the most for the franchise, and also won the 1964/65 coach of the year award. With 9 NBA championships in 16 seasons with the club, Red is the top Celtics head coach with the most championships.

  • Full name: Arnold Jacob Red Auerbach
  • Date of birth: 20 September 1917
  • Age: Died at 89 years
  • Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York, the United States of America
  • Season(s): 1950-1966
  • Years active: 1940-1966
Boston Celtics previous head coaches
Red Auerbach watches practice during the 1988 McDonald's Championships on 19 October 1988 at the Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Andrew D Bernstein
Source: Getty Images

Who owns the Boston Celtics?

Since 2002, Wyc Grousbeck, the venture-capital veteran and tequila owner, has been the lead owner of the Celtics.

How much is the Boston Celtics worth?

As of 2023, according to various online analysts, the franchise has a net worth of approximately $4 billion.

Who is the Boston Celtics head coach?

Joe Mazzulla is the Celtic's current permanent head coach. Before being confirmed, he served as an interim coach after Ime Udoka was suspended for the 2022/23 season due to some allegations.

The Boston Celtics head coaches, along with their quality players, have come a long way, and over the years, they have helped the team reach franchise success. As of 2023, they have made 59 playoff appearances and have won 17 NBA championships tying with their long-time rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.

READ ALSO: Top 10 list of the biggest Sumo wrestlers and how much they weigh

Sports Brief has compiled a list of the top 10 Sumo wrestlers detailing how much they weigh. With some fighters weighing up to 500 pounds, Sumo is a form of martial arts dominated predominantly by heavy competitors.

Before a match, the Sumo wrestlers are weighed, and most of them range between 180 kilograms or 397 pounds and 220 kilograms or 485 pounds. Click on the link to find more details about the weight of the top 10 Sumo fighters.

Lenah Ann photo
Lenah Ann
Lenah Ann is a Kenyan-based content creator with 2 years of experience. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media and Communication from Dedan Kimathi, Kenya in 2021.