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First Person

Green again

Walter McCarty, who last played for the Celtics in 2005, returns this season as an assistant coach.

Alex Gagne

 People I’ve known for a long time and worked with in the organization calling me coach is the strangest thing I’ve had to get used to. It’s usually Walter or Walt. Now, it’s Coach Walt.

I feel like I grew up in this city. I love being back. To me, it’s home.

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In a pinch, in a specific situation, I could still go out there and play. If it was spotting up somewhere, then yes; if I have to run up and down the floor and get tired, then probably no. I play one-on-one with some of our guys, and it’s fun. I’m trying to create game-like situations, so they’re not going through the motions on some of their moves.

I know what goes on in the player’s mind, what he’s thinking. I understand what he’s seeing, what he’s feeling, what he’s going through because I’ve been through it. I’m very fortunate that I have the ability to do that.

The thing that I heard as a player that really helped me throughout my career is to listen, be patient, and learn as much as possible.

The most mentally challenging part of going from player to coach was making sure that the players know that I’m a coach. When you’re a player, you have a lot of fun, you joke around, but I have to be taken seriously as a coach. At times I’m going to be a tough coach. At times I’m going to tell them things that they don’t want to hear. I definitely want to be a head coach one day. It just depends on the team or the college. It has to be the right situation.[The Celtics] have some challenges this season, but we’re up for them. I think we’re going to do a lot of growing this year with our guys. Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of success at the same time.      

— As told to Shira Springer (Interview was edited and condensed.)

TUNE IN The Celtics play the Pistons today at 6 p.m.

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