The Utah Jazz officially have a new head coach.
The team formally announced Wednesday that Will Hardy has been named the franchise’s sixth head coach since moving to 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. “This opportunity comes with tremendous responsibility. I’m grateful for the trust the Jazz have placed in me and I look forward to the work ahead.”
Hardy becomes the youngest active head coach in the NBA at 34 years old. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Hardy most recently was an assistant coach, under Ime Udoka with the Boston Celtics, who reached the 2022 NBA Finals, a feat the team hadn’t accomplished 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 great value on communication, player development and creating the most productive environment for players to succeed.”
Hardy started his NBA career as an intern with the San Antonio Spurs and during 11 years worked his way up the ranks — first with the video coordination staff and on to player development. Eventually he became an assistant for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“As our search committee went through this process, Will really separated himself among a group of extremely talented candidates,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said in the team’s press release. “We’re eager to get to work with him as we continue our pursuit of bringing an NBA championship to Utah.”
Although the Jazz interviewed several seasoned coaching veterans during their search, along with coaches who were already familiar to the organization, they decided to go with someone who hasn’t yet held a head coaching position and who came from outside the Jazz circle.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Will Hardy as the next head coach of the Utah Jazz,” said Jazz owner Ryan Smith. “He has incredible experience and we believe in his continued trajectory. Danny and Justin ran a comprehensive process and we are confident Will is the right head coach to lead us into the next chapter of the Utah Jazz. Ashley and I and the entire ownership group are grateful to welcome Will, his wife Spencer, and their family to Utah.”
The Utah Jazz are planning to hold a formal introductory press conference with Hardy and local reporters, though a specific time and date has not been set.