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Utah Jazz introduce Will Hardy as head coach

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 12:43:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Saying his trajectory is as far as he wants to take it, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith formally introduced Will Hardy as his team's new head coach on Tuesday.

In a news conference at Vivint Arena, Hardy first thanked his family as he sat between Smith and CEO of Basketball Danny Ainge, then spoke about the chance he's getting in Utah.

"It's an amazing opportunity and it's not one that I take lightly," said Hardy.

In his first public appearance as the youngest head coach in the NBA, the 34-year-old Hardy said he will take from his experiences as an assistant in San Antonio and Boston to formulate his coaching style with the Jazz.

"I want our team to represent toughness, sacrifice and passion," Hardy explained. "I think that those values are very reflective of this organization, but also, their values that the state of Utah and our incredible fan base can feel deeply connected to and very, very proud of."

When asked specifically about his age, Hardy said he never considered it an issue before taking the job.

"Honestly, it's not something that I've ever really thought about," he explained. "I've always just tried to make the most out of every opportunity that I've had, and I don't look like this any differently.

"I am 34 and I'm fine with that."

With experience as an NBA player, coach and executive, Ainge presented a laundry list of Hardy's qualities that he thought would make a winner on and off the court.

"Will's presence, first. His confidence. His knowledge, his basketball acumen," said Ainge. "Yeah, he is 34-years-old, but he didn't feel 34 to us, or we didn't really pay that much attention to that. He just seemed really prepared and mature."

Ainge added that in their conversations that Hardy "spoke" his language regarding basketball.

Hardy is the ninth coach in the franchise's history and comes to Utah after having spent last season as an assistant with the Boston Celtics and 11 seasons in the Spurs organization under Gregg Popovich.