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William Fitch (born May 19, 1934 in Davenport, Iowa) is an American former National Basketball Association (NBA) coach who has been successful in making teams playoff contenders throughout his coaching career. Before entering the professional ranks he coached college ball at the University of Minnesota, Bowling Green State University, the University of North Dakota, and his alma mater, Coe College. Fitch's teams twice qualified for the NCAA tournament.

Fitch was a U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor,[1] a fact that Larry Bird credited in his book Drive: The Story of My Life as an important reason for Bird's own strong work ethic.

During his 25-year pro coaching career Fitch repeatedly was hired in an attempt to improve failing teams. As of 2004 Fitch ranked fifth among all NBA coaches in all-time number of victories (with 944) but also ranked second in all-time losses (with 1,106) behind Lenny Wilkens. He was awarded as the NBA's Coach of the Year Award twice and he guided Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and the rest of the Boston Celtics to the 1981 NBA championship, defeating the Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the finals. From Boston, Fitch went on to coach the Rockets where he led a team featuring Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson to the 1986 NBA Finals where they were defeated once again by Bird's Celtics, 4 games to 2, for the NBA championship.

Fitch also coached the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Clippers. During his first year with the Cavaliers, the team lost its first 15 games.

Notes

  1. ^ Charley Rosen. "True tales from the camp fires". ESPN.com. http://espn.go.com/page2/s/rosen/021009.html. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 

External links

Preceded by
Bob Shulz
Coe College Men's Basketball Head Coach
1958–1961
Succeeded by
Don King
Preceded by
Louis D. Bogan
University of North Dakota Men's Basketball Head Coach
1962–1966
Succeeded by
Jimmy Rodgers
Preceded by
Warren Scholler
Bowling Green State University Men's Basketball Head Coach
1967
Succeeded by
Bob Contbear
Preceded by
John Kundla
University of Minnesota Head Basketball Coaches
1968–1970
Succeeded by
George Hanson
Preceded by
initial coach
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach
1970–1979
Succeeded by
Stan Albeck
Preceded by
Dave Cowens
Boston Celtics Head Coach
1979–1983
Succeeded by
K. C. Jones
Preceded by
Del Harris
Houston Rockets head coach
1983–1988
Succeeded by
Don Chaney
Preceded by
Willis Reed
New Jersey Nets Head Coach
1989–1992
Succeeded by
Chuck Daly
Preceded by
Bob Weiss
Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach
1994–1998
Succeeded by
Chris Ford
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