Winter To Be Inducted Into The Basketball Hall Of Fame
April 4, 2011
Former USC basketball player and guru of the triangle offense Fred "Tex" Winter has been elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame it was announced today (April 4) in Houston, Texas. The 10-person Hall of Fame Class of 2011 will be honored August 11-13 during this year's Enshrinement Ceremonies in Springfield, Mass.
Winter played at USC during the 1947 season after a year at Compton College and earned the first USC Most Inspirational Player Award. Winter's teammates on the 1947 team included Hall of Famers Alex Hannum and Bill Sharman. Winter was also one of the nation's top pole vaulters when he lettered in track at USC in 1946.
Winter was a coach and assistant coach for nearly 60 years at the collegiate and NBA levels, gaining his widest acclaim as the architect of the very successful triangle offense which helped the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers win nine NBA titles. Winter won six NBA titles as Phil Jackson's lieutenant with the Bulls in the 1990s as well as three more with the Lakers (2000-02).
"It's about time. It's very well deserved," said Laker star Kobe Bryant. "I'm beyond happy for him. It's exciting, a little past due, but better late than never."
After leaving USC, Winter went on to be an assistant coach at Kansas State (1948-51). He helped lead the Wildcats to three league titles and to the1951 NCAA title game against Kentucky.
He earned his first head coaching job at Marquette where he guided the Warriors to a 25-25 record in two seasons. Current USC head coach Kevin O'Neill also got his first Division I NCAA head coaching job at Marquette.
Winter then returned to Kansas State as head coach for 15 seasons (1954-68) and guided them to eight league titles and six NCAA Tournament appearances. His Kansas State teams twice reached the Final Four, losing to Seattle and Elgin Baylor in the 1958 semifinals and falling to UCLA and John Wooden in the 1964 semifinals. In 1958 he became the youngest coach in college basketball history to be named UPI Coach of the Year.
He then served as the Washington head coach for three seasons (1969-71), before accepting the job as the head coach of the NBA's Houston Rockets. He actually was hired while the franchise was located in San Diego, but on the eve of the first season the team was sold and moved to Houston. He is one of six former Trojans to serve as an NBA head coach.
After nearly two seasons with Houston, Winter took over as head coach at Northwestern for five seasons (1974-78). From there, he moved to Long Beach State where he was the head coach for five seasons (1979-83). His 1980 team reached the Big West finals and then won a game in the NIT.
Winter temporarily retired after that, but was coaxed back into service by Dale Brown of LSU to serve as an assistant coach for two seasons (1984-85).
After another quick view of retirement he was contacted by Chicago Bulls' GM Jerry Krause who wanted him to mentor his coaches, first Doug Collins and then Phill Jackson. He would spend 14 seasons (1986-99) in Chicago, helping the Bulls win six NBA titles and establish the NBA record for the best record in 1996.
Winter left Chicago and joined Jackson as an assistant coach with the Lakers in 2000. With Winters' aid, Jackson and the Lakers went on to capture three-straight NBA titles (2000-02).
Winter is a member of several halls of fame, including the USC Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pac-10 Hall of Honor, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, and he was awarded the John Bunn Award for lifetime achievement from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In June 2010 he was given the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the NBA Coaches Association.