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Tex Winter: NBA coaching legend dead at 96

By
Alex Butler

Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Tex Winter -- NBA coaching legend and the architect of the triangle offense -- died at 96 years old late Wednesday.

Kansas State University announced his passing, saying that the former Wildcats coach died in Manhattan. Memorial services are pending. Winter is survived his wife, Nancy, and sons, Brian, Chris, Russ and three grandchildren.

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"Like James Naismith, Tex Winter was an educator at heart who deeply believed in the values of the game of basketball -- teamwork, discipline and selflessness," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "A pioneering Hall of Famer with 10 NBA Championships, he taught those values to generations of players and coaches, leaving a legacy that will forever be part of our history. We extend our deepest sympathies to Tex's family and his countless friends and former colleagues."

Winter began his coaching career in 1947 as an assistant coach under Jack Gardner at Kansas State. He later spent two years at Marquette, where he was hired as the youngest head coach in major college basketball at 30 years old.

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Winter returned to Kansas State, serving as head coach for 15 years. He helped the Wildcats reach the Final Four twice and go to the NCAA tournament six times.

He jumped to the NBA in 1971 as the coach of the Houston Rockets for two seasons, after publishing The Triple-Post Offense in 1962. He joined the Chicago Bulls as an assistant coach in 1985, where he was paired with Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan for six championships.

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"Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game," Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said in a statement. "He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached everyday. 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."

Winter joined Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999 as a consultant, helping the team implement the triangle offense. He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

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"My mentor. I sat with Tex and watched every minute of every game during our first season together," Kobe Bryant tweeted. "He taught me how to study every detail. He was a bball genius in every sense of the word. I'll miss him deeply. Thank you Tex. I wouldn't be where I am today without you. Rest In Peace."

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