One night in 2016, then-San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Will Hardy said he found it hard to believe that he was sitting where he was.
“To think that I would ever go from Chandler Gym to sitting here in the TD Garden is surreal,” he said.
After a tenure at San Antonio and one season where he helped Ime Udoka guide the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals, Hardy is reportedly on the move again.
Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported that the 34-year old Williams College graduate will be the next coach of the Utah Jazz. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that, tweeting “The Utah Jazz have offered Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy the franchise’s head coaching job and he’s finalizing a deal to accept the job, sources tell ESPN.”
The Utah Jazz have offered Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy the franchise's head coaching job and he's finalizing a deal to accept the job, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2022
Hardy worked his way up from video coordinator to being an assistant coach with San Antonio from 2015-21. He was on Greg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio and with USA Basketball as an assistant on the 2021 gold medal-winning Olympic team in Tokyo.
Hardy’s time at Williams was split between two coaches, Dave Paulsen and Mike Maker. As a senior at Williams, Hardy was a member of the 30-2 Eph squad that beat Guilford in the NCAA Division III Final Four, but lost to Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the national championship game. That Williams squad, at one point, won 21 consecutive games.
The new Jazz head coach played in all 32 games, backing up Troy Whittington and Joe Geoghegan in the post of Maker’s Princeton-style attack.
Hardy credited Maker, who is now an assistant at Division I St. Thomas (Minn.) with lighting his coaching fire.
“Coach Maker, he really turned that light on for me. He talked to me a lot about strategy and offense, and he let me come to the coaches office whenever I wanted. I’d just sit in there, pick his brain and argue with him,” Hardy said in an interview with The Eagle while he was on Popovich’s staff in San Antonio. “He would explain stuff to me. He would get the board out and draw it. He turned that light on for me for sure.
“Those last two years of college are where [coaching] really started to become a real thought for me.”
In an interview with the Eagle last month, Maker was asked if he was surprised by Hardy’s NBA success and rise to the top.
“You always encourage your children or your players to chase their dreams and anything is possible. Am I surprised at Will’s success? Absolutely not,” Maker said. “Could I have predicted that he would have been in San Antonio to win championships and a Gold Medal at Tokyo, and then sit on the Celtics bench and be in the Eastern Conference Finals? Of course not.”
Hardy is becoming the second former Eph to be in a high-ranking NBA position. Rafael Stone, who played basketball for Harry Sheehy at Williams and graduated in 1994, is the general manager of the Houston Rockets.