Brad Stevens

Mark Humphrey

BOSTON - The Green are getting greener.

With aging stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on their way to the Nets and Doc Rivers already coaching the Clippers, the Celtics hired Brad Stevens, 36, from Butler as their coach on Wednesday.

The move turns the tradition-laden franchise over to a mentor who led the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA title games but is younger than Garnett.

It's the first time the Celtics have hired a college coach since Rick Pitino in 1997.

"Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic" Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said in a release. "His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him toward Banner 18."

Ainge met with Stevens at his home in the Indianapolis area along with Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca and worked out the deal Wednesday morning.

"It's a wonderful opportunity with a historic franchise," Butler President James M. Danko said at an on-campus news conference Wednesday night. "We have done everything we possibly can to keep him. Brad is a very bright, very articulate, and a wonderful, wonderful person who's handled this as well as he's handled everything else you've seen him do."

Since taking Butler of the mid-major Horizon League to the national championship game in 2010 and again in 2011, Stevens had been courted by Illinois and UCLA, among others.

Stevens spent seven years as a Butler assistant and the last six years as the head coach, compiling a career winning percentage of .772. He never won fewer than 22 games, and the Bulldogs went 33-5 in 2009-10.

Stevens, who didn't attend the news conference, takes over a team that is rebuilding just three seasons removed from an appearance in the NBA Finals.

College-to-Pro Coaches

The Celtics have hired Brad Stevens as their coach. Here are some prominent college coaches who moved directly to the NBA:

Brad Stevens - Butler to Boston (2013)

Mike Montgomery - Stanford to Golden State (2004)

Leonard Hamilton - Miami to Washington (2000)

Lon Kruger - Illinois to Atlanta (2000)

Tim Floyd - Iowa State to Chicago (1998)

John Calipari - UMass to New Jersey (1996)

P.J. Carlesimo - Seton Hall to Portland (1994)

Rick Pitino - Providence to N.Y. Knicks (1987); Kentucky to Boston (1997)

Larry Brown - UCLA to New Jersey (1981); Kansas to San Antonio (1988)

Lou Carnesecca - St. John's to N.Y. Nets (1970)

Bill Fitch - Minnesota to Cleveland (1970)

Butch Van Breda Kolff - Princeton to L.A. Lakers (1967)

Joe Lapchick - St. John's to N.Y. Knicks (1947)