The Best NBA Coaches Who Got Their Starts in College Basketball

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The Best NBA Coaches Who Got Their Starts in College Basketball
NBA Photos/Getty Images

When Brad Stevens left Butler to take over as head coach of the Boston Celtics, he walked head-on into an ugly tradition.

No, not the Celtics'. After all, Boston is the most decorated franchise in the NBA.

The scary history that Stevens joins is the one dooming college basketball coaches to ignominious failure in the professional ranks.

Before Stevens, no NBA team had hired a head coach with zero pro experience since the Golden State Warriors brought Mike Montgomery up I-280 from Stanford in 2004. With notable flops like John Calipari, Jerry Tarkanian and Leonard Hamilton littering the past 25 years, general managers have plenty of precedent discouraging the hiring of college coaches.

There are, however, a few cases of college coaches succeeding in the NBA. Success in this case is defined as either a winning career record or at least one NBA championship.

When you finish the list, however, you'll notice one thing: None of these coaches plied their trade very recently.

Still, best of luck to Brad Stevens. Recent history suggests he'll need every bit of it he can get.

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