When the schedule dropped, the clock was ticking for the Maine Celtics to announce the successor to Alex Barlow. For the second time this offseason, Brad Stevens had picked up two coaches from the Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer era. After an over 30-win campaign under Barlow, the developmental side of the organization begins the next regime with Jarell Christian pushing the buttons in the front office.
Blaine Mueller will lead it from the sideline. He becomes the ninth head coach in Maine’s history, and the third since 2021.
Mueller, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been in coaching since 2016 and in the NBA since 2018. The fact that he has won a championship in the past at the professional level cannot be overlooked. He has seen the top. For the young men that he is about to lead, that perspective can lead to growth on and off the basketball court. It will be the first time at any level that Mueller is being given the keys to a coaching staff. With that, there is bound to be a learning curve.
Even with no head coaching experience, it is clear from what people have to say about the former Lindenwood University assistant that he is ready for the task at hand. His journey and work ethic to get from “A” to “B” pretty much explains his preparedness.
Blaine Mueller received a massive chance with the Maine Celtics following his work with the Bucks organization
On the “Locked On Bucks” podcast with Kane Pitman, Mueller explained that his path to the NBA can be described by “a lot of dumb luck and taking advantage of opportunities.” As a non-professional who transferred after one season at the Division III level, the Wisconsin native had to work that much harder to reach the bench of a championship team.
It all began as a volunteer assistant coach at a local high school near the University of Wisconsin. That was the first stepping stone. From there, his motivation never wavered. Chemistry and the medical field were not his calling. It may have taken numerous attempts to move to the collegiate level, but the determined Watertown, Wisconsin native found his way.
Rejection never deterred him. A “no” from his alma mater to become a graduate assistant left him questioning his future. It did not take there as Mueller ended up losing his job at the Division II level due to budget cuts.
Coaching was his passion, and there nobody was going to tell him overwise. It’s a story for anyone who still thinks their dream job is not in the cards. Mueller’s journey says that it always is if your head is fully committed to the goal.
New Boston Celtics assistant endorsed Maine Celtics coaching hire
While Charles Lee may not have played a major role in the final stages of the hiring process, it has to be said that he gave the endorsement if Mueller is now moving to New England for the first time.
This may not be where he seeks to be for the foreseeable future, but it is a position that allows for even more promotions. Of the last nine leaders at the Portland Expo, two are now in a front office, three are assistants in the league, two are head coaches elsewhere, and one is part of a Big East college staff.
The former Bucks assistant has a promising team to work with over in Portland. All three two-way contracts have been distributed as Jay Scrubb, and JD Davison lead the backcourt. Last season’s G-League MVP runner-up Neemias Queta is slated to make an impact in the painted area.
The Celts of the North have not qualified for the G-League playoffs two straight campaigns since 2016 and 2017. While Mueller knows what it is like developing players as a past assistant, his history sure tells us a winning team could come with that.
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