Ime Udoka suspension, explained: What we know about Celtics coach’s status and who could serve as interim head coach

By | September 22, 2022

The Celtics will likely have to complete the 2022-23 campaign without their head coach.

On Wednesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Boston coach Ime Udoka is facing a “significant suspension” after he violated organizational guidelines. Wojnarowski didn’t initially offer additional information on the 45-year-old’s situation, but new details have emerged since his initial report.

Here is everything we currently know about Udoka’s status with the Celtics ahead of the 2022-23 season. The Sporting News will continue to monitor and update as new information becomes available.

What did Ime Udoka do?

Early Thursday morning, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Udoka had an “improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff.” As indicated by Woj’s initial report, Udoka’s actions violated organizational guidelines and preliminary reports indicate that any suspension or punishment would be levied by the Celtics, not the NBA.

How long will Ime Udoka be suspended?

The Celtics have not yet released an official statement regarding a potential punishment for Udoka, but he will likely be suspended for the entire 2022-23 season, according to Wojnarowski.

During an appearance on “SportsCenter,” Wojnarowski made it clear that this is a “Celtics matter, not a league issue,” so the NBA will not be involved in any disciplinary action. 

Will the Celtics fire Ime Udoka?

Udoka’s job isn’t “believed to be in jeopardy,” per Wojnarowski.

Will Brad Stevens replace Ime Udoka as Celtics head coach?

The Celtics’ president of basketball operations spent eight seasons as Boston’s head coach from 2013-14 through 2020-21 before transitioning into a front office role. Stevens hired Udoka prior to the start of last season in what was his first major decision after taking over for Danny Ainge.

Who will be the Celtics’ interim head coach?

Wojnarowski reported that Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla has emerged as the likely replacement for Udoka.

The 34-year-old, who played at West Virginia from 2006-2011 and was a member of the 2009-10 Mountaineers team that reached the Final Four, joined Boston’s coaching staff in 2019. He previously served as an assistant and head coach at Fairmont State, and he was also an assistant coach for the Maine Celtics of the G League.

Will Hardy, the top assistant on Udoka’s staff during the 2021-22 season, would have been the obvious choice for interim head coach, but the Jazz hired him to replace Quin Snyder back in June. Utah reportedly interviewed Mazzulla before hiring Hardy.

Who else is on Celtic

Ime Udoka’s coaching resume

  • Assistant coach with Spurs (2012-19)
  • Assistant coach with 76ers (2019-2020)
  • Assistant coach with Nets (2020-21)
  • Head coach with Celtics (2021-22)
  • 2014 NBA champion with Spurs
  • 2021-22 Eastern Conference champion with Celtics
  • 51-31 regular season record as head coach

Celtics training camp, Media Day, preseason schedule

Boston is set to hold its Media Day on Monday, Sept. 26. The Celtics will then kick off training camp on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Here is their full preseason schedule:

Date Opponent Time
Oct. 2 vs. Hornets 1 p.m.
Oct. 5 vs. Raptors 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Hornets* 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Raptors* 7 p.m.

* Game played at neutral location