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Former N.B.A. head coach and Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay dead at 89

Dr. Jack Ramsay
Dr. Jack Ramsay
Photo by Photo by Christian Petersen

"Dr." Jack Ramsay former N.B.A. head coach and Basketball Hall of Famer passed away Monday from cancer, he was 89 years old. Best known as one of the winningest coaches in N.B.A. history and for leading the 1976-1977 Portland Trailblazers to a World Championship. He was later inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and a color commentator for the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and ESPN broadcasts. Ramsay also wrote several books about basketball.

Born on February 21, 1925 in Philadelphia, PA. Jack Ramsay graduated from St. Joseph's with a BA and furthered his learning with a masters and doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He would later return to his alma mater St. Joseph's and become their men's basketball team's head coach For the next eleven seasons, Ramsay would lead the Hawks to ten postseason appearances, a Final Four spot in 1961 and a 234-72 record.

In 1968 Jack Ramsay became the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. During his four seasons with the team, he would lead the Sixers to three straight playoff appearances before moving on to the Buffalo Braves. Whilst in Buffalo, Ramsay would spend four seasons with the franchise leading them to three straight conference semifinals before leaving to coach the Portland Trailblazers. In his first year with the Blazers he coached the team to an NBA title. Ramsay would remain in Portland until 1986. Ramsay would coach his final team the Indiana Pacers until 1988 when he would retire after 7 games.

Jack Ramsay finished his career with 864 wins and is considered one of of the top ten coaches of all time. He was inducted into several Hall of Fames (St. John University, Philadelphia Big 5, Basketball and St. John's Athletics). His old alma mater St. John's in 2009 would honor him by naming their new basketball facility The Ramsay Center. Dr. Jack had to retire from his broadcast duties in May of 2013 due to cancer treatments.

Dr. Jack was a cerebral coach who was a disciplinarian whose rigid practices, emphasis on rebounding and a fast breakaway game made him one of the winningest coaches in basketball. As a color commentator, Ramsay was loved by many for his wit, humor and colorful nicknames and catchphrases. But he will always be remembered for his unique approach to coaching making him an innovator of today's N.B.A. and his contributions to the game will surely be missed.

Jack Ramsay is survived by his son Chris, daughters Carolyn Ramsay, Sharon O'Brien and Susan Dailey. He was predeceased by his wife Jean who passed away in 2010.

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