Bas­ket­ball pioneer Win­ter dead at 96

As­sisted Jack­son with NBA ti­tles teams in Chicago, L.A.

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS - Chicago Tri­bune.

MAN­HAT­TAN, KAN. (AP) — Tex Win­ter, the in­no­va­tive “Tri­an­gle Of­fense” pioneer who as­sisted Phil Jack­son on NBA cham­pi­onship teams with the Chicago Bulls and Los An­ge­les Lak­ers, has died. He was 96.

Win­ter’s fam­ily said he died Wed­nes­day in Man­hat­tan, where he be­gan his coach­ing ca­reer at Kansas State in 1947 and led the Wild­cats to two Fi­nal Fours and eight Big Seven/Eight ti­tles as head coach from 1954-68.

“I learned so much from Coach Win­ter. He was a pioneer and a true stu­dent of the game,” Michael Jor­dan said in a state­ment emailed to the “His tri­an­gle of­fense was a huge part of our six cham­pi­onships with the Bulls. He was a tire­less worker. Tex was al­ways fo­cused on de­tails and prepa­ra­tion and a great teacher. I was lucky to play for him. My con­do­lences to his fam­ily.”

Win­ter pub­lished “The Triple-Post Of­fense” in 1962 and teamed with Jack­son to use the sys­tem to great suc­cess with Jor­dan and Kobe Bryant. Win­ter as­sisted Jack­son on cham­pi­onship teams with the Bulls in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998, and the Lak­ers in 2000, 2001, 2002. He was a con­sul­tant with Los An­ge­les’ 2009 ti­tle team, and the Lak­ers also won in 2010.

“Tex Win­ter was a bas­ket­ball leg­end and per­haps the finest fun­da­men­tal teacher in the his­tory of our game,” said Bulls Pres­i­dent John Pax­son, a for­mer player un­der Win­ter. “He was an in­no­va­tor who had high stan­dards for how bas­ket­ball should be played and ap­proached ev­ery day.

“Those of us who were lucky enough to play for him will al­ways re­spect his de­vo­tion to the game of bas­ket­ball. His con­tri­bu­tions to the Bulls or­ga­ni­za­tion will al­ways be re­mem­bered.”

In­ducted into the Nai­smith Memo­rial Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame in 2011, Win­ter spent more than six decades in coach­ing.

“On be­half of the en­tire Lak­ers or­ga­ni­za­tion, I’d like to ex­press our sad­ness at the pass­ing of Tex Win­ter,” Lak­ers owner Jeanie Buss said in a state­ment. “Tex helped lead the team to four NBA cham­pi­onships and was a men­tor to many of our coaches and play­ers. In ad­di­tion to his nu­mer­ous con­tri­bu­tions to the game of bas­ket­ball, Tex was a won­der­ful man and he will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Win­ter fam­ily.”

Win­ter was 451-336 as a col­lege head coach, also di­rect­ing Mar­quette (195153), Washington (1969-72), North­west­ern (1975-78) and Long Beach State (1978-83). He coached the NBA’s Hous­ton Rock­ets in 1972-74, go­ing 51-78.

“To­day is a sad day for not only Kansas State Univer­sity but also the en­tire bas­ket­ball world with the pass­ing of Coach Win­ter,” K-State ath­letic di­rec­tor Gene Tay­lor said in a state­ment. “He trans­formed the game of bas­ket­ball at all lev­els and will al­ways re­main an in­te­gral piece of our rich bas­ket­ball tra­di­tion here at K-State. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Win­ter fam­ily dur­ing this time. He will cer­tainly be missed by the en­tire

Born Morice Fredrick Win­ter in 1922 near Welling­ton, Texas, he grew up in Hunt­ing­ton Park, Cal­i­for­nia, and starred at Ore­gon State and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in bas­ket­ball and as a pole vaulter. He en­tered coach­ing at Kansas State in 1947 un­der Jack Gard­ner.

“While the Win­ter fam­ily mourns the loss of a hus­band, father and grand­fa­ther, we also cel­e­brate what was by any mea­sure a fruit­ful, pro­duc­tive and event­ful life,” Win­ter’s fam­ily said in a state­ment. “The Win­ter fam­ily would like ex­tend ap­pre­ci­a­tion to all those who played an im­por­tant role in Tex’s life. We would also like to ex­tend thanks for the out­pour­ing of bless­ings in the wake of this sad news.”

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