MILWAUKEE, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Larry Costello, who won championships with Wilt Chamberlain as a player and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a coach, died Tuesday. He was 70.
According to a release from the Milwaukee Bucks, Costello died near Fort Myers, Fla. after battling cancer for more than a year. He coached the Bucks to their only championship in 1971.
Costello was a six-time All-Star during his 12-year career as a player with the Philadelphia Warriors and Syracuse Nationals, who later became the Philadelphia 76ers.
He averaged 12.2 points and 3.8 assists and twice led the NBA in free-throw percentage. He was a reserve guard on the 1966-67 76ers, who featured Chamberlain, won 68 games and ended Boston's eight-year hold on the league title.
Costello retired after the following season and was named the first coach of the Bucks in April 1968, a position he held for nine seasons.
In the 1970-71 season, Costello guided a team with Abdul-Jabbar and fellow Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson to a 66-16 record and the NBA championship.
The Bucks won their first title in their third year. They reached the NBA Finals again in 1974, losing to Boston in seven games.
"Larry Costello established a foundation for the franchise that enabled it to become one of the most successful expansion teams in any sport," said Bucks vice president of business operations John Steinmiller, who joined the club during its championship season.
"Larry's work ethic, dedication to the integrity of the game and love for Bucks fans in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin helped early to establish Bucks basketball in this community."
Costello compiled a coaching record of 410-264, including one season with the Chicago Bulls after his stint in Milwaukee. He was 37-23 in the playoffs.
Jon McGlocklin, currently a Bucks broadcaster who played eight seasons under the crew-cut Costello, remembered his no-nonsense style that got the job done.
"Larry was a very dedicated, direct coach who was instrumental in my development as a ballplayer," he said. "It was under Larry that I played my basketball.
"Over the years, I got to know him personally and have kept in touch with him and his family. At heart, under that exterior, he was a very honest man and a very good man who attacked his job with purity and with zeal. This is a sad day."
Born July 2, 1931 in Minoa, N.Y., Costello is survived by his wife and four daughters.