Dr. Jack Ramsay, a Hall of Fame coach with ties to the
76ers and Saint Joseph’s University, and whose basketball beginnings took place
in Delaware County, died Monday after a lengthy battle with cancer. Ramsay was
Ramsay, a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer who spent the
bulk of his coaching career with NBA teams, first worked the sidelines as the
coach of now-shuttered St. James High in Chester. The Delaware County Sports
Hall of Famer, Ramsay graduated from Upper Darby High School and later
graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University and attained
master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
He moved into the college coaching ranks in 1955, when he
was hired by his alma mater, Saint Joseph’s. Ramsay coached the Hawks until
1966, guiding them to seven Big 5 championships and 10 postseason appearances –
including the first of each in program history.
From there, Ramsay joined the 76ers’ front office. And
after winning a championship with 1966-67 team, he moved to the sidelines. He
coached the Sixers from 1968-72, then the Buffalo Braves from 1972-76, before
moving on to the Portland Trail Blazers. Ramsay coached the Blazers through
1986, with the franchise’s only championship, in 1977, highlighting his nine-season
tenure with the team. Ramsay finishing his NBA coaching career with the Indiana
Pacers, from 1986-88.
Ramsay had an 864-783 record (.525 winning percentage)
during a 21-year NBA coaching career, for which he was inducted into the
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.
Here are a few statements about Ramsay from around the
Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil: “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. 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
Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon: “When my brother,
Melvin, and I bought the Pacers he was one of our first coaches and took us to
our first NBA Playoff series. Jack was a good, humble man who gave us our first
taste of success in the NBA. This is a loss for the sport of basketball, not
just the Pacers. We send our condolences to his family, in particular his
daughter, Sharon, who became part of our family when her husband, Jim, coached
Indiana Pacers president of basketball
operations Larry Bird: “Jack was a great man and I don’t use that term lightly.
His contributions to the game, as a coach, advisor, broadcaster will endure
forever. I remember talking to Jack, either in Florida, or when he came to our
training camp when Jim O’Brien was the coach. I always learned something from
him. This is a sad day for all of us in basketball and a sad day for anyone who
Indiana Pacers basketball operations
consultant Donnie Walsh: “He was the
first coach I hired with the Pacers. He was a wonderful choice, got us in the
playoffs for the second time in our NBA history and got us our first NBA
Playoff victory. During his time, we drafted Rik Smits and Reggie Miller and he
was a tremendous teacher, a master, for young players like those two, helping them
get off to a great start in their careers. I knew he was a great coach, but
once I got to know him, he was a better man. I will miss him a lot, as will the
rest of the NBA.”
UPDATED: 4/28, 2:10 p.m.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver: "Today,
the NBA family mourns the loss of one of the true legends of our game,
Dr. Jack Ramsay. From his coaching tenure to his broadcast work, Dr.
Jack left an indelible mark on every facet
of our game and on every person he came in contact with, including me.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends.”
Labels: Adam Silver, Delaware County, Indiana Pacers, Jack Ramsay, Larry Bird, Portland Trail Blazers, Scott O'Neil