The Utah Jazz officially have a new head coach.
The team officially announced Wednesday that Will Hardy has been named the franchise’s sixth head coach since arriving in Utah in 1979.
“The Utah Jazz are one of the most respected and successful franchises in the NBA and the fan base here is legendary,” Hardy said in a statement released by the team. “With this opportunity comes enormous responsibility. I am grateful for the trust the Jazz has placed in me and look forward to the work ahead.
Hardy becomes the NBA’s youngest active head coach at 34. A native of Richmond, Va., Hardy was most recently an assistant coach, under Ime Udoka with the Boston Celtics, which reached the 2022 NBA Finals, a feat the team hadn’t achieved since 2010.
“Will Hardy is one of the brightest young leaders in the NBA,” Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said. “He understands the importance of setting a vision and creating a culture for players. He places a high value on communication, player development and creating the most productive environment for players to succeed.
Hardy began his NBA career as an intern with the San Antonio Spurs and for 11 years worked his way up – first with the video coordination team and then in player development. Eventually, he became assistant to Spurs manager Gregg Popovich.
“As our search committee went through this process, Will truly separated himself among an extremely talented group of applicants,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said in the team’s press release. “We look forward to working with him as we continue our quest to bring an NBA championship to Utah.”
Although the Jazz interviewed several seasoned veterans of the coaches during their search, as well as coaches who were already familiar with the organization, they decided to go with someone who had not previously held a coaching position- chef and who came from outside the jazz circle.
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Will Hardy as the next head coach of the Utah Jazz,” Jazz owner Ryan Smith said. “He has incredible experience and we believe in his continued trajectory. Danny and Justin have gone through a thorough process and we are confident that Will is the right head coach to lead us into the next chapter of the Utah Jazz. Ashley, Me and the entire group of owners are grateful to welcome Will, his wife Spencer and their family to Utah.
The Utah Jazz plan to hold an official introductory press conference with Hardy and local reporters, although a specific time and date have not been set.