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William "Red" Holzman (August 10, 1920 – November 13, 1998) was an NBA basketball player and coach probably best known as the head coach of the New York Knicks from 1967 to 1982. Holzman helped lead the Knicks to two NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973, and was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985. His death at age 78 was seen in NY1's Today In NYC History.

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Early career

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920, Holzman grew up in that borough's Ocean Hill-Brownsville neighborhood and played basketball for Franklin K. Lane High School in the mid-1930s. He attended the University of Baltimore and later the City College of New York, where he played for two years until graduation in 1942. Holzman joined the United States Navy in the same year, and played on the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Base team for two years.

Professional career

Holzman was discharged from the Navy in 1945 and subsequently joined the NBL Rochester Royals, which won the NBL championship in Holzman's first season. Holzman was Rookie of the Year in 1944-45. In 1945-46 and 1947-48 he was on the NBL's first All League team; in the interim year he was on its second team.[1] Holzman stayed with the team through their move to the NBA and subsequent NBA championship in 1951. In 1953, Holzman left the Royals and joined the Milwaukee Hawks as a player-coach, eventually retiring as a player in 1954 but continuing as the team's head coach. During the 1956–1957 season, Holzman led the Hawks (then in St. Louis, Missouri) to 19 losses during their first 33 games, and was subsequently fired.

In 1957, Holzman became a scout for the New York Knicks for ten years ending in 1967, whereupon he became the team's head coach for the most part until 1982.[1] (Holzman's former player, Willis Reed, replaced him as Knicks head coach in 1977, but Holzman returned near the start of the 1978–1979 season.) During this 15-year span as Knicks' coach, Holzman won a total of 613 games, including two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.

In 1969, Holzman coached the Knicks to a then single-season NBA record 18 game win streak, breaking the 17-game record first set back in 1946. For his efforts leading up to the Knicks' 1970 championship win, Holzman was named the NBA Coach of the Year for that year. He was one of very few individuals to have won an NBA championship as both player and coach. As a coach, his final record was 696 wins and 604 losses. In 1985, he was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The New York Knicks have retired the number 613 in his honor, equaling the number of wins he accumulated as head coach.

He lived with his wife in a home they bought in Cedarhurst, New York in the 1950s. Following his lengthy NBA coaching career, Holzman was diagnosed with leukemia and died at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York in 1998.[2]

References

  1. ^ Ira Berkow, New York Times, November 15, 1998.
  2. ^ Berkow, Ira. "Red Holzman, Hall of Fame Coach, Dies at 78", The New York Times, November 15, 1998. Accessed September 15, 2008. "He and his wife bought a house in Cedarhurst, N.Y., in the Five Towns section of Long Island in the 1950's, and stayed there all their lives, raising Gail, their only child in a 55-year marriage."

External links

Preceded by
Andrew Levane
St. Louis/Milwaukee Hawks Head Coach
1954–1956
Succeeded by
Slater Martin
Preceded by
Dick McGuire
New York Knicks Head Coach
1968–1977
Succeeded by
Willis Reed
Preceded by
Willis Reed
New York Knicks Head Coach
1978–1982
Succeeded by
Hubie Brown
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