Monday , Oct , 30 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Auerbach was one of a kind

(Sports Network) – The NBA lost a legend when Arnold “Red” Auerbach passed
away at the age of 89. Auerbach was the architect behind the Boston Celtics,
who became one of the most storied and successful franchises in professional
sports.


Auerbach was one of a kind

Known for never being shy about lighting up a victory cigar, Auerbach drafted,
coached and traded for great players like Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Larry Bird,
Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, Robert
Parish and Bill Russell.

“Red was a man who was bigger than life,” said McHale. “His impact on the game
of basketball and the NBA is immeasurable. He was a huge part of my time in
Boston, and for that I am forever grateful. Red will be missed by many, many
people. The Celtics will never be quite the same without Red Auerbach.”

Auerbach, who recorded a 938-479 record as a head coach, was also Boston’s
general manager from 1950-84 and was the team’s president until 1997. He was
then promoted to vice-chairman of the board. His 938 victories were the most
in NBA history, until former NBA head coach Lenny Wilkens surpassed the mark
during the 1994-95 campaign.

Walter Brown originally hired Auerbach to coach the Celtics in 1950.
Auerbach’s legacy started that season when he turned the Celtics from a 22-46
team to a 39-30 squad. With the help of the Holy Cross product Cousy, who
Auerbach passed on in the draft for center Charlie Share but ended up signing
with the club because of teams folding throughout the league, Auerbach was on
his way to starting a tradition of excellence and winning in Beantown.

Arguably the greatest coach in the history of basketball, Auerbach, who
coached the Washington Capitols and the Tri-Cities Blackhawks of Iowa in the
Basketball Association of America for three years, helped Boston capture 16
championships. He was 99-69 in the playoffs, and simply knew what it took to
build a winner.

“I think Arnold was an absolute giant in the field,” said Cousy. “I have been
around a lot of competitive people but his commitment to winning was absolute
– nothing was more important. He was relentless and produced the greatest
basketball dynasty so far that this country has ever seen and certainly that
the NBA has ever seen. This is a personal loss for me; Arnold and I have been
together since 1950. I was fortunate that I was able to attend a function with
him Wednesday night when he was honored by the United States Naval Memorial
Foundation in Washington, and I am so glad now that I took the time to be
there and spend a few more moments with him.”

Not only did Auerbach own an impressive resume, he earned the respect of those
he worked with as well as those he worked against.

“Everyone here at the Knicks organization is saddened at the passing of Red
Auerbach,” said current New York head coach and team president Isiah Thomas.
“When you think of team play, you have to credit Red for developing and
perfecting the concept. The incorporation of team play resulted in the
ultimate in our business — championships.

“More importantly, we all compliment his stance on diversifying the NBA. He
was a true pioneer, and everyone associated with our sport owe him gratitude.”

Auerbach was a winner and a genius when it came to figuring out what it took
to be successful in the NBA. He made Boston into a winning organization and
will always be remembered and talked about when people mention Celtics
basketball.