Monday, April 28, 2014

Former Sixers coach Dr. Jack Ramsay passes at 89

Hall of Fame basketball coach Jack Ramsay has died. He was 89 years old.

According to ESPN, the network for which Ramsay worked after his successful coaching career, the long-time NBA and college mentor died in his sleep Monday in Florida after a long battle with cancer.

The Philadelphia native landed his first NBA head coaching job with the 76ers in 1968, after helping build the team's 1966-67 championship squad as general manager, and spent four seasons guiding his hometown team. He also coached the Buffalo Braves, Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers in a 21-year career.

Ramsay won an NBA title in 1977 with Portland, beating the 76ers. He had an overall record of 864-783 with 17 playoff appearances.

"The Portland Trail Blazers and indeed the NBA have lost an authentic original in Dr. Jack Ramsay," said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. "In leading this franchise to its first NBA championship, Dr. Jack set a standard of excellence for his players, coaches and all who crossed his path. He was that rarest of men with a unique style that was inspirational and motivational about basketball and life itself. We loved him as a coach, as a broadcaster and as a human being."

Prior to his NBA career, Ramsay coached at his alma mater, Saint Joseph's, for 11 seasons. The Hawks were 234-72 with seven NCAA Tournament appearances from 1955-66 under Ramsay, reaching the school's only Final Four in 1961.

"Dr. Jack Ramsay was a legendary figure in Philadelphia and a man whose passion and contributions to this city and the game of basketball will long be remembered," said Sixers Chief Executive Officer Scott O'Neil. "He left an indelible mark on the basketball community -- from the Big 5 to our organization and throughout his storied career within the NBA -- and was a friend and mentor to those who knew him, both on- and off-the-court. On behalf of the Sixers organization, we truly mourn the loss and send our deepest condolences to the entire Ramsay family."

Ramsay retired as the second-winningest coach in NBA history and later had a long basketball broadcasting career. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.
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