Stevens joins the Celtics after 13 years at Butler, the last six as head coach of the Indiana school. He received a six-year contract from the Celtics and said he’s eager to put his stamp on the program.
“If anybody’s going to be impatient, it’s going to be me,” Stevens said. “I love to compete. I love to prepare. And I can’t wait for the first practice. I’m a big believer in the day-by-day process, I’m really excited about it.
“The only way I would have considered leaving Butler was for the greatest situation. And it’s all about people. When I got a chance to sit down with the people in the room, it reminded me of the people that I was leaving. It’s been emotional, because it’s hard to leave a place that you’ve been for 13 years. But it’s also very exciting.”
Stevens said he wants “outside-the-box thinkers” on his coaching staff as he makes the transition to the pro game.
“The things I’ve written down for a great staff are humble, hard-working and searching for answers,” he said. “I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I love being around people searching for them. It’s kind of motivating for me.”
Stevens’ Butler teams were noted for their intelligence and toughness, and he said that’s the same type of team he wants in Boston.
“I hope we play hard and play together,” he said. “And then I hope as time goes on, as we learn the people on our team and we learn whatever system we choose to put in that we are a very detail-oriented, tough-minded group. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about coaching, is when you get people to all play not only to their strengths and enhance themselves individually but collectively go after it and achieve something, you can see that sense of purpose together.”
The NBA has a reputation as a league in which the players have more control than the coaches, opposite of the situation in college. Stevens said the key is relating to the players as people.
“My assessment right now is, and the way I think of it right now is, a lot of these guys, most of these guys, played in college. These guys aren’t necessarily college players, professional players — they’re people. And they really want to be good at the things they’re working on. And they also want to know that the people that they’re working with are invested in them. Those things will happen. I’m going to put a lot of time into people. And I’m going to put a lot of time into making sure that they know that this is not just about what they can do for me or why they can do where they are.
“The name on the front of the jersey is really important, and it takes precedent. At the same time, they also understand that it’s really going to be a fulfilling experience for them.”
Point guard Rajon Rondo  has clashed with coaches and players in the past. Stevens made it clear that he’s eager to start fresh if Rondo remains on the team.
“Everything that I have been told around here is that he is a huge, huge, huge, huge part of us moving forward. I can’t wait to meet him, can’t wait to spend time with him, can’t wait to coach him, can’t wait to learn from him,” Steven said. “I think he’s got a unique ability to play the game. I think he’s very intelligent and he’s incredibly instinctive. I really can’t wait to get there with him and meet him and, again, spend time. I’m a lot less worried about what everybody else says.
“We had just a brief introduction and talk yesterday. I’m really looking forward to meeting him.”