Rondo is coming off a major knee injury.
Ainge said the length of the contract shows the team’s commitment to Stevens, who will now try to break the trend of college coaches moving into the NBA and failing (John Calipari and Rick Pitino are two of the most notable).
“I think a difference is his humility,” Ainge said. “I think as an organization, a six-year contract speaks loud. I don’t think there’s any other coach in the NBA with a six-year commitment from their team.
“We understand - we’re investing in him as a person. I think a lot of times with the college coaches, I think with those people that you mentioned, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, are fantastic basketball coaches. They didn’t fail because they can’t coach. Failure was from an organizational standpoint, giving them the support . there were a lot of factors and I think those guys could easily succeed in the NBA.”
Stevens said: “Certainly I’m aware of those names and I’m aware of everybody that’s made the transition. Each situation is different, too. What I would look for in any work environment are people that are all on the same page, that all believe in getting the right people on the bus and believe in supporting each other.
“I think we really feel strongly about how we’ve been treated right from the get-go . it was the kind of working environment that I was used to. We felt at home. It was the right decision. It was obviously the right decision.”
Ainge, who reportedly first interviewed assistant Jay Larranaga (one of two assistants staying on Stevens‘ staff) noted it was “a leap of faith” for Stevens to leave Butler, where he was 116-49 in six years and led team to the 2010 and `11 national title games.
“As much as I took a leap of faith, so did they,” Stevens said.