John Travilla "Jack" Ramsay would have been 90 years old today. Ramsay was born on February 21, 1925 and died on April 28, 2014.
He was known as Dr. Jack because he got his doctorate degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Jack Ramsay would become coach of St Joseph's in 1955 and turn that team into a Big 5 powerhouse. After the 1965-1966 season, Ramsay retired from St. Joseph's because of an edema in his retina. He finished his college coaching career with a 234-72 record. He led the Hawks to a Final Four appearance in 1961.
In 1967, Ramsay would become the GM of the Philadelphia 76ers. In his first season as GM, the team won the NBA championships after posting a 68-13 season, then the best record in NBA history. The team averaged 125 points with Wilt Chamberlain contributing an average of 24 points, 24 rebounds and eight assists per game. Ramsay was forced to trade Chamberlain after that.
In 1968 he took over as the Sixers head coach. Despite not having Chamberlain, Ramsay led the team to a 55-27 record. The 76ers led the NBA in scoring (119 points per game) as a result of Ramsay's style of aggressive pressing defense. In his four seasons with the Sixers, they made the playoffs in three of them.
Ramsay would then become coach of the Buffalo Braves for four season. When he inherited the team they were one of the worst teams in the NBA. In his first season, the team went 21-61. But the next season they doubled the win total and made the playoffs and pushed eventual champions Boston Celtics to six games in the conference semifinals. In his four seasons in Buffalo, Ramsay went 158-170 and took the team to three playoffs.
In 1976, Ramsay became head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. Before he arrived, the team had not made the playoffs in its first six seasons. But a young Bill Walton had the team starting to gel and that's all Ramsay needed. In his first season in 1977 he led Portland to the NBA title, which would be the only one in team history.
The team was 50-10 in his second season and favored to repeat, but Walton broke his foot. Ramsay would coach the team until 1986, but never repeat that great success.
In 1986, he took over tas coach of the Indiana Pacers and led them to the second winning record in franchise history. He would retire in 1989 after his team's 0-7 start.
When Ramsay retired, he was second on the all-time wins list for NBA coaches with 864 wins, trailing only Red Auerbach. In 1992, Ramsay was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
He would become a staple on NBA broadcasts for many years after retiring from coaching.
Here's to you Dr. Jack. Happy Birthday.