Coach Tex Winter, who helped the Chicago Bulls win six NBA Championships, has died. He was 96.
Winter’s family said he died Wednesday in Manhattan, Kansas where he spent much of his college coaching career at Kansas State. He had an extensive and decorated collegiate career, including a few appearances at the NCAA Final Four games.
Winter joined the Chicago Bulls in 1985, where he assisted head coach Phil Jackson. In 1999, he followed Jackson to the Los Angeles Lakers. Together, they won six championships in Chicago and four in L.A.
John Paxson, Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, said Winter’s contribution to the Bulls will always be remembered.
“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game. He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached everyday,” Paxson said in a statement.
Winter was known for being a stickler for fundamentals and an innovator of the “Triangle Offense.” In this strategy, the center, the forward and guard create a sideline triangle. It’s meant to give players more space to read and react to offensive plays.
Winter was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, after more than six decades in coaching.
WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye Stout said Winter’s induction was well deserved and should have happened sooner.
“Collegiate career alone should have got him in,” she said.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he learned a lot from Winter when he played for the Bulls during the 1990s. Speaking to reporters last night, Kerr said he patterns his coaching after Winter.
“What he did for me and the path he put me on, the chance that he gave me in Chicago, along with Phil Jackson, changed my whole life. I learned so much about basketball from Tex,” Kerr said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.