The Boston Celtics yesterday named former Harvard basketball coach Tom "Satch" Sanders to replace Tom Heinsohn as head coach.
Sanders moves up from the assistant coach spot, for which he resigned his Harvard post last summer. He will immediately take over the leadership of the ailing Celtics, who are off to their worst start in history with an 11-23 record.
The team is mired in fourth place of the National Basketball Association's Atlantic Division, 11 1/2 games behind frontrunning Philadelphia.
"Satch is the head coach as of right now," Howie McHugh, press agent for the Celtics said yesterday. "Heinsohn got canned this morning at 10:30. He had worn out his welcome."
Heinsohn is the first coach to be fired by the Boston club in 30 years. He leaves pro basketball with the second highest number of career victories of any coach in history.
For Sanders, this is the first coaching position in a professional league, but he is not short on pro experience. He was a standout Celtic forward from 1960 to 1973, famed for his play on defense.
Sanders came to Harvard to coach after his retirement at age 34 from active play. His Harvard teams had an overall 40-60 record, faring slightly better in Ivy League competition with a 27-29 mark. During his last two seasons Harvard went 8-18 and 9-16.
Sanders said yesterday his years at Harvard helped prepare him for his new post. "My four years at Harvard will help me here--I can appreciate what the job's all about now."
"I really miss the Harvard program," Sanders added.
Sanders said yesterday his first task as coach would be to try to eliminate the Celtics' recent "defeatist attitude" by establishing better communication with the players. The Celtics' management cited low team morale as one of its reasons for firing Heinsohn.
Sanders is well-known for his low-key approach to the game, which will be a marked contrast to Heinsohn's feverish style.
Although his approach brought little success to the Harvard program, Harvard