The Best Boston Celtics Coaches Of All Time

Over 300 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Boston Celtics Coaches Of All Time

Who are the best Boston Celtics coaches of all time? In their time as an NBA franchise, the Boston Celtics have gone through many different head coaches, all with different personalities and coaching styles. With that said, who is the best Boston Celtics coach of all time? Which Celtics head coaches did you love? 

Red Auerbach would coach the Celtics to their first NBA championship in the 1957. Auerbach would lead the Celtics to nine more championships between 1957 and 1966. Bill Fitch lead the Celtics to an NBA Finals championship in 1981. Fitch and Auerbach are the only two Celtics head coaches to win an NBA Coach of the Year award. Recently, Ime Udoka was hired to get the franchise back to their title winning ways.

Vote up the best Boston Celtics coaches of all time, and help us decide the best Celts head coaches ever.

Latest additions: Joe Mazzulla
Ranked by
  • Red Auerbach
    120 votes


    Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach (September 20, 1917 – October 28, 2006) was an American basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and, most notably, the Boston Celtics. After he retired from coaching, he served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death. As a coach, he won 938 games (a record at his retirement) and nine National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in ten seasons (a number surpassed only by Phil Jackson, who won 11 in eighteen seasons). As general manager and team president of the Celtics, he won an additional seven NBA titles, for a grand total of 16 in a span of 29 years, making him one of the most successful team officials in the history of North American professional sports. Auerbach is remembered as a pioneer of modern basketball, redefining basketball as a game dominated by team play and defense and for introducing the fast break as a potent offensive weapon. He groomed many players who went on to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Additionally, Auerbach was vital in breaking down color barriers in the NBA. He made history by drafting the first African-American NBA player, Chuck Cooper in 1950, introduced the first African-American starting five in 1964, and hired the first African-American head coach in North American sports (Bill Russell in 1966). Famous for his polarizing nature, he was well known for smoking a cigar when he thought a victory was assured, a habit that became, for many, "the ultimate symbol of victory" during his Boston tenure.In 1967, the NBA Coach of the Year award, which he had won in 1965, was named the "Red Auerbach Trophy", and Auerbach was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969. In 1980, he was named the greatest coach in the history of the NBA by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America, and was NBA Executive of the Year in 1980. In addition, Auerbach was voted one of the NBA 10 Greatest Coaches in history, was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and is honored with a retired number 2 jersey in the TD Garden, the home of the Boston Celtics.
  • K. C. Jones
    90 votes


    K. C. Jones (born May 25, 1932) is an American retired professional basketball player and coach. He is best known for his association with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA), with whom he won eleven of his twelve NBA championships (eight as a player, one as an assistant coach, and two as a head coach). As a player, he is tied for third for most NBA championships in a career, and is one of three NBA players with an 8-0 record in NBA Finals series. He is the only African-American non-player head coach to win multiple NBA championships. Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
  • Tom Heinsohn
    75 votes


    Thomas William Heinsohn (born August 26, 1934) is an American retired professional basketball player. He has been associated with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for six decades as a player, coach and broadcaster. He played for the Celtics from 1956 to 1965, and also coached the team from 1969 to 1978. Tom Heinsohn has been granted Hall of Fame status for his contributions as a player. He has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame for his success as a head coach. He also helped form the NBA Players Association. Heinsohn is the only person to have the distinction of being involved in an official team capacity in each of the Celtics' 17 championships, as well as each of their 21 NBA Finals appearances. He is currently the color commentator on the Celtics' television broadcasts on NBC Sports Boston.
  • Bill Russell
    102 votes


    William Felton Russell (February 12, 1934 – July 31, 2022) was an American professional basketball player who played as a center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and a 12-time NBA All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career. Russell and Henri Richard of the National Hockey League are tied for the record of the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Russell is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He led the San Francisco Dons to two consecutive NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, and he captained the gold-medal winning U.S. national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Despite his limitations on offense, as Russell averaged 15.1 points per game, his rebounding, defense, and leadership made him one of the dominant players of his era.
  • Doc Rivers
    102 votes


    Doc Rivers (born October 13, 1961) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played as a point guard in the NBA and was known for his defense, a trait that has carried over into his coaching. Rivers was an NBA All-Star in 1988.
  • Brad Stevens

    Brad Stevens

    124 votes


    Bradley Kent Stevens (born October 22, 1976) is an American professional basketball coach and former collegiate player who is the head coach of the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Born and raised in Zionsville, Indiana, Stevens stared on the Zionsville Community High School basketball team, setting five school records. After high school, he attended DePauw University, where he played basketball and earned a degree in economics. He made the all-conference team multiple times and was a three-time Academic All-America nominee. He transitioned into coaching after quitting his job at Eli Lilly and Company, joining the basketball program at Butler University as a paid volunteer prior to the 2000–02 season. He was promoted to a full-time assistant coach the following season. After five seasons in the role, he assumed the position of head coach on April 4, 2007, after Todd Lickliter left to coach the Iowa Hawkeyes. In his first year, Stevens led Butler to 30 wins, becoming the third-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I history to have a 30-win season. In 2010, his third year as head coach, Stevens broke the NCAA record for most wins in a coach's first three years, exceeding the previous record by eight wins. In the NCAA Tournament, Stevens coached Butler to the first Final Four in school history, while also becoming the second-youngest head coach to make a NCAA National Championship game, losing 61–59 to Duke. With the following season's team also making the Final Four, Stevens became the youngest coach to go to two Final Fours. Stevens coached the Bulldogs in their second consecutive national championship game on April 4, 2011, where the team again lost, this time to the Connecticut Huskies. Stevens was regularly named a finalist for Horizon League Coach of the Year award, winning twice, and was also a nominee for both the Hugh Durham Award and Jim Phelan Award in every year of his college career. This success garnered him a job with the NBA's Boston Celtics in 2013, when he signed a six-year, $22-million-dollar contract to become head coach. After undertaking a rebuild early in his career, Stevens has led the Celtics to the NBA Playoffs every year since 2015, won a division championship, and appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 and 2018. He has gained a reputation as one of the NBA's best coaches, with his motion offense and stingy defense earning plaudits from fans, peers, and players.