Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla reacts against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at United Center
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Joe Mazzulla Loves Two Things: His Wife Camai and West Virginia

When the Boston Celtics lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, the expectation was that Jayson Tatum and Co. would run it back the following year under head coach Ime Udoka. Instead, after a messy offseason, Udoka would be out and assistant coach Joseph Mazzulla would be named the interim head coach of one of the NBA's most historic franchises. From his humble beginnings with the West Virginia University Mountaineers to being named basketball coach at Fairmont State University, the Rhode Island native has been through it all. And while Brad Stevens, Boston's president of basketball operations, may have seen Mazzulla's potential as an NBA head coach. Joe Mazzulla's wife, Camai, always knew her husband had the potential to lead the Eastern Conference powerhouse.

Almost Heaven: Joe and Camai's West Virginian Romance

Joe Mazzulla #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after defeating the Duke Blue Devils during the second round of the West Regional as part of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

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Joe and Camai met at West Virginia, where he played basketball. After graduating in 2011 and going unselected in the NBA Draft, the former college basketball player returned to West Virginia as an assistant coach at Glenville State. Camai came along for the ride, and the two were married in 2014 while Joe was an assistant at Fairmont State. After a brief stint as an assistant with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League, Mazzulla received his first head coaching job at Fairmont State, a Division II school also in West Virginia.

If it's not abundantly clear, coach Mazzulla loves West Virginia.

"I have spent some of my most important years here — my college years and the years of growing emotionally and spiritually after college," the Celtics head coach wrote in a letter. "I started my career here and began the task of finding my purpose as a coach. I was also very fortunate to meet my beautiful wife, get married, begin growing our family here and purchase our first home. West Virginia has given my family and I experiences that we will forever be grateful for and never forget."

"My wife Camai, my stepson Michael and my youngest son Emmanuel are the most important people in my life. Thank you Camai for your love, support and sacrifice. You are the true face of our family by how you keep us all together and give everything you have every day. We have stuck together through so many successes as well as adversity. Nothing sums up West Virginia, Fairmont in particular, better than this. In 2016 I left for seven months to coach in the NBA Developmental League in Portland, Maine. I left my wife and two children behind while I did what we thought was best for our family. The people of Fairmont treated my family with so much respect, love and care, and everywhere my wife turned she had nothing but support and love. It was amazing!"

Camai keeps herself out of the spotlight, unlike previous Celtics coach's wives, but that doesn't mean she isn't immensely supportive of her husband as he takes on NBA juggernauts including the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

His Early NBA Coaching Career

Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics talks with Payton Pritchard #11 during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden

Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

When Mazzulla was given the chance to coach Team Giannis at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, Camai and the whole family came to Utah to celebrate the National Basketball Association's newest head coach. Camai posted photos of the whole fam on social media, all wearing Jordan 12s.

Family has always been important to Mazzulla. His father, Dan Mazzulla, was a Hall of Fame player at Bryant University; Joe and his younger brother, Justin (who played collegiate hoops for Vermont), played high school ball in Rhode Island. Joe's father played professionally in Chile, but he found his calling coaching the girls basketball team at Johnston Senior High School in Johnston, Rhode Island.

Now, it's Joe's turn to be a legendary head coach as he attempts to win an NBA championship. But first, Mazzulla needs to lead the Celtics through the playoffs. Still, we're sure that Camai and his entire family will be cheering him on.

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