Coach Red Auerbach
Red Auerbach is one of the NBA’s most prolific coaches, winning 938 games and nine NBA Championships throughout his 26 year career. He is known for building the Boston Celtics into the legendary team it is today. Auerbach redefined team dynamics using defense in new ways, recruited the first African American NBA player, Chuck Cooper, and coached several future Hall of Famers, including John Havlicek, Bill Russell and Sam Jones.
After coaching for the Washington Capitols from 1946-1950 and the Tri-Cities Blackhawks from 1949-1950, Auerbach began his 16 year career as the Boston Celtics’ coach. He was a tough coach, but was beloved by his players and the fans alike. He and Havlicek had a good relationship, and Auerbach described the “guts of the team.”
When Auerbach retired as coach in 1966, he named player Bill Russell his successor, and effectively made Russell the first African American NBA coach. Auerbach took over the position of general manager and later became president and vice chairman. In 1967, Auerbach was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year, and he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1969. He is frequently cited as the NBA’s greatest coach.