He didn’t know it at the time, but Bill Belichick welcomed the man who would become the Celtics’ interim coach during training camp that summer.
Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla was named interim head coach on Friday following Ime Udoka’s one-year suspension.
Belichick held his weekly Friday press conference around the same time the Celtics first addressed the media following the Udoka scandal. Belichick was asked what meeting Mazzulla was like – and he obviously didn’t mention Udoka’s name.
“Yeah, [he] had a great opportunity to visit,” Belichick said. “Always had a great relationship with all these guys for several years, but Brad [Stevens]then when Brad quit, other people came in there.
“So yeah, it’s very interesting talking about pro athletes, pro sports, teaching, learning, etc. It was good. It was a good day.”
As Belichick mentioned, several Celtics members have visited the Patriots during training camp in years past. Stevens made appearances there in 2017 and 2019. Jayson Tatum also made an appearance alongside Stevens in 2019. Isaiah Thomas also made the trip to Foxborough in 2017, just two weeks before his move to Cleveland. On the other hand, Belichick was a standout in Celtics playoff games during his time with the Patriots and even sat down with Stevens in one game last playoff.
Mazzulla, 34, is a native of Johnson, Rhode Island, and joined the Celtics coaching staff in 2019. Mazzulla’s father, Dan, played college ball at Bryant University, where the Patriots held practices of training camp. Dan Mazzulla was also inducted into the Bryant Hall of Fame in 2007.
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