Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla offers up support for Jerod Mayo


“I like the relationships that he built with his linebackers and DBs.”

Joe Mazzulla welcomed Jerod Mayo to the coaching fraternity in Boston on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

We’re on to the Mayo Era.

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla paid tribute to Bill Belichick’s 24-year run in Foxborough by donning a cut-off sweatshirt before Boston’s road game against the Bucks on Jan. 11. 

But with Jerod Mayo formally introduced as the 15th head coach in Patriots history on Wednesday afternoon, Mazzulla backed New England’s new sideline leader prior to Boston’s matchup against the Spurs at TD Garden.

Mazzulla — a Rhode Island native — already has plenty of connections with New England’s coaching staff, especially with another promising coach in his mid-30s like Mayo.

“I love Jerod,” Mazzulla said, via video from CLNS Media. “The times I got to go over and visit, I got to spend time with him in the linebacker room, in the defensive room with him and Steve [Belichick]. Just his ability to think [the] game. I like the relationships that he built with his linebackers and DBs.”

As for any advice for the latest head coach in Boston? 

“He’s been around a long time,” Mazzulla said. “He’s coached there, he’s played, I don’t need to give him any (advice). But he does have my support and can’t wait to go over and sit with him and learn from him.”

Last week, Mazzulla acknowledged that he has drawn from several coaches across many sports for inspiration over the years — especially Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. 

“If coaching defines you, it can be an unhealthy life, it can be really stressful. You could be the best ever and there is a shelf life,” Mazzulla noted. There’s a shelf life on your career and being with one particular team. To me, the most inspiring thing [on Jan. 10] is Nick Saban has won so much and he’s walked away after losing in the college playoff. To me, that’s inspiring as a coach because you aren’t going to be defined by winning.

“You don’t have to stick around too long and chase another one. I think when you see guys that go through coaching changes or slumps, one, it’s easy to forget how hard it is to be a coach. Two, it’s easy to take for granted long-term success and three, we’re normal guys who have a job and try to do the best we can. Just grateful for the relationship and the standard that he sets.”