Erik Spoelstra was the model, working his way up from the Miami Heat's video department to two-time NBA champion as coach. Indiana's Frank Vogel is another young coach who got his shot when Bird hired the former advance scout, and Vogel had the Pacers within a game of the NBA Finals.
Stevens' success at Butler, where he won 77 percent of his games, did wonders for mid-majors. The NCAA tournament selection committee grew more willing to extend bids to smaller schools over mediocre ones from the power conferences after watching teams like the Bulldogs prove they could compete with any of them.
Now he can have a similar influence in the coaching ranks. If he shows there's no difference in coaching at legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse as there is at the new Boston Garden, that solid X's and O's work just as well in the Atlantic Division as in the Atlantic 10, other guys like him may start getting their shots.
They already are. Vogel was only 37 when the Pacers turned to him in 2011, so he knows Stevens can get it done.
"The Celtics got one heckuva basketball coach," he said through the Pacers. "Congrats to Danny Ainge and Brad."