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Mountaineers in the Pros

Joe Mazzulla Becomes Youngest HC to Win NBA Finals in Last 56 Years



Joe Mazzulla at NBA Finals

At the age of 35, former WVU guard Joe Mazzulla has become one of the youngest coaches to win the NBA Finals as the Boston Celtics closed out the Dallas Mavericks in game five on Monday night. The Celtics defeated the Mavericks 106-88.

Mazzulla brings the Celtics its first championship since 2008, and its NBA record 18th overall.

Overall, Mazzulla is the sixth-youngest head coach to win the finals. Baltimore Bullets HC Harry “Buddy” Jeannette was only 30 when he won the title in 1948. Other younger coaches include John Kundla (32), George Senesky (34), Bill Russell (34), Alex Hannum (34) and Pat Riley (37).

Mazzulla took over the interim duties for Ime Udoka before the 2022-2023 season, leading the Celtics to 57 wins during his rookie season. Mazzulla also coached in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.

Mazzulla, who played guard at West Virginia from 2006-11, has worked his way up the coaching ladder over the past decade. Mazzulla began pursuing a coaching career following his graduation from West Virginia. Following coaching stints at Glenville State and Fairmont State, the former Mountaineer was hired as an assistant of the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s G-League team. Mazzulla went back to Fairmont State in 2017 to serve as the head coach of the Fighting Falcons.

During his WVU days, Joe Mazzulla was most known for his 17-point performance in the 2010 Elite Eight against Kentucky. Mazzulla stepped in for an injured Truck Bryant, helping the Mountaineers reach their first Final Four since 1959. Mazzulla played 145 career games at West Virginia.

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