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Jack Ramsay

Jack Ramsay

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Jack T. Ramsay is an American former basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 coach
Coach (sport)
In sports, a coach is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople.-Staff:...

, commonly known as "Dr. Jack" (as he holds an earned doctorate, see below). He is best known for coaching the Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . The Trail Blazers originally played their home games in the...

 to the 1977 NBA Title
1977 NBA Finals
The 1977 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1976-77 NBA season. The Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference played against the Philadelphia 76ers of the Eastern Conference, with the 76ers holding home-court advantage. Their 4 regular season meetings had been...

, and for his broadcasting work with the Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are members of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association...

, the Miami Heat
Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . They play their home games at American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami...

, and for ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

 TV and ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio is an American sports radio network. It was launched on January 1, 1992 under the original banner of "SportsRadio ESPN." ESPN Radio is located at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut...

. Ramsay is among the most respected coaches in NBA history and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Education


Ramsay graduated from Upper Darby High School (UDHS) in 1942. He was inducted into the school's Wall of Fame in 1979. He received his bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 from Saint Joseph's College
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Joseph's University is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic Jesuit university located partially in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia and partially in Lower Merion Township and located in the Pennsylvania Main Line, Pennsylvania, United States.The school was founded in 1851 as Saint...

 in 1949, and his masters and doctorate degrees (the latter in education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

) from the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 in 1952 and 1963, respectively.

College


After coaching in the high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 and minor-league ranks for the early postwar years, he became head coach at his alma mater
Alma mater
Alma mater , pronounced ), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele, and in Christianity for the Virgin Mary.-General term:...

, Saint Joseph's College
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Joseph's University is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic Jesuit university located partially in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia and partially in Lower Merion Township and located in the Pennsylvania Main Line, Pennsylvania, United States.The school was founded in 1851 as Saint...

, in 1955. In his first season, Ramsay would lead the Hawks to their first Big 5
Philadelphia Big 5
The Philadelphia Big 5 is an informal association of college athletic programs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. It is not a conference; indeed the five schools that are members of the Big 5 are members of three separate conferences: the Atlantic 10, the Big East, and the Ivy League.The five...

 crown and their first-ever postseason berth (in the NIT
National Invitation Tournament
The National Invitation Tournament is a men's college basketball tournament operated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. There are two NIT events each season. The first, played in November and known as the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off , was founded in 1985...

). Ramsay would remain there through 1966, leading the Hawks to six more Big 5 crowns and ten postseason appearances (including a Final Four) in all.

Professional


Immediately after leaving Saint Joseph's, he was hired as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are a professional basketball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . Originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA...

, who won an NBA title in his first season in the front office. In 1968, he left the front office to take over as head coach of the Sixers. In his four seasons as coach, he led the team to three playoff appearances. However, he traded away future Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain
Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain was an American professional NBA basketball player for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers; he also played for the Harlem Globetrotters prior to playing in the NBA...

 and Chet Walker
Chet Walker
Chester "Chet" Walker is a former pro basketball player.Walker played high school basketball for the Benton Harbor High School boys basketball team. He graduated from Bradley University in 1962 as the school's all-time leading scorer. The Bradley Braves won the NIT Championship in 1957 and 1960...

. While these trades may have made sense on paper, Ramsay got very little in return. While the Sixers continued to contend during his tenure on the bench, it was obvious that they were nowhere near the powerhouse they had once been. The collapse came in 1971-72, when the Sixers tumbled to a 30-52 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in their history (dating all the way back to 1946, when they were still the Syracuse Nationals
Syracuse Nationals
The Syracuse Nationals were an American professional basketball team that existed from 1946 to 1963 as part of the National Basketball League and National Basketball Association . They are currently known as the Philadelphia 76ers, and are the NBA's oldest continued franchise.The team began in...

). After the season, Ramsay took the head coaching job with the Buffalo Braves
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are a professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California, United States. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association...

. His tenure was almost a mirror image of his time with the Sixers—four seasons, three playoff berths; however, he did not leave Buffalo in the sort of wreckage that had occurred in Philadelphia.

His next coaching stop in the NBA was his most famous, with the Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . The Trail Blazers originally played their home games in the...

. When he arrived in 1976, the Blazers had not made the playoffs or compiled a winning record in their six-year history. However, he arrived just as a young team, led by Bill Walton
Bill Walton
William Theodore "Bill" Walton III is a retired American basketball player and television sportscaster. The "Big Red-Head", as he was called, achieved superstardom playing for John Wooden's powerhouse UCLA Bruins in the early '70s, winning three straight College Player of the Year Awards, while...

, started to gel, and also benefited from the ABA
American Basketball Association
The American Basketball Association was a professional basketball league founded in 1967. The ABA ceased to exist with the ABA–NBA merger in 1976.-League history:...

 dispersal draft in the 1976 off-season, in which the Blazers picked up hard-nosed power forward
Power forward (basketball)
Power forward is a position in the sport of basketball. The position is referred to in playbook terms as the four position and is commonly abbreviated "PF". It has also been referred to as the "post" position. Power forwards play a role similar to that of center in what is called the "post" or "low...

 Maurice Lucas
Maurice Lucas
Maurice Lucas was an American professional basketball player. The first two years of his postcollegiate career were spent in the American Basketball Association with the Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels...

. In his first season in Portland (1977
1976-77 NBA season
The 1976–77 NBA season was the 31st season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Portland Trail Blazers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.-Notable occurrences:...

), Ramsay led the Blazers to their first and only NBA title to date. In his second season, the Blazers were 50-10 after 60 games and favored to repeat as champions before the always-fragile Walton, in the midst of a season in which he would be named the league MVP
NBA Most Valuable Player Award
The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1955–56 NBA season. The winner receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, which is named in honor of the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement...

, broke his foot, the first of numerous major injuries to his legs and ankles that radically shortened his career (though he managed to stay in the league until 1987). Ramsay continued to coach the Blazers until 1986 with general success, although he was never able to approach the level of his first seasons there. During his last nine seasons in Portland, the Blazers only won two playoff series. He also coached the Western Conference side in the 1978 All-Star Game.

Ramsay took over as coach of the Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are members of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association...

 for the 1986-87
1986-87 NBA season
-Statistics leaders:-Yearly awards:* Most Valuable Player: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers* Rookie of the Year: Chuck Person, Indiana Pacers* Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Lakers...

 season, leading them to only their second non-losing record as an NBA team. However, he was never able to duplicate that success, and was fired midway through the 1988-89 season
1988-89 NBA season
-Statistics leaders:-NBA awards:*Most Valuable Player: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers*Rookie of the Year: Mitch Richmond, Golden State Warriors*Defensive Player of the Year: Mark Eaton, Utah Jazz...

. At that time, he was second on the all-time wins list for NBA coaches, trailing Red Auerbach
Red Auerbach
Arnold Jacob "Red" Auerbach was an American basketball coach of the Washington Capitols, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and the Boston Celtics. After he retired from coaching, he served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death...

.

Broadcasting and media


Ramsay later spent nine years as a television color commentator
Color commentator
A color commentator is a sports commentator who assists the play-by-play announcer, often by filling in any time when play is not in progress. The color analyst and main commentator will often exchange comments freely throughout the broadcast, when the play-by-play announcer is not describing the...

 for the Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are a professional basketball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . Originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA...

 and the Miami Heat
Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . They play their home games at American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami...

, and continues to do NBA game commentary for ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

 TV and ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio is an American sports radio network. It was launched on January 1, 1992 under the original banner of "SportsRadio ESPN." ESPN Radio is located at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut...

. At the end of the 2010-2011 NBA regular season, he inexplicably selected Manu Ginobili as the NBA MVP, when the clear frontrunner was Derrick Rose, with LeBron James a distant second. Many speculate that this decision was based on the time Ramsay saw Manu dive for a loose ball 4 feet away from his broadcaster's table, both saving the Spurs from a turnover, as well as providing a dazzling assist to teammate Tim Duncan. Dr. Jack worked for the Miami Heat from 1992 until 2002. The games were broadcast from South Florida's Sunshine Network (now Sun Sports
Sun Sports
Sun Sports is a Florida sports broadcasting network, with its headquarters in Orlando. Launched in 1988 as Sunshine Network, the station is now affiliated with virtually every cable company throughout the state of Florida and can be picked up by some satellite providers around the United...

), Fox Sports Florida, and sometimes local Miami station WBFS
WBFS
WBFS, or Wii Backup File System, is a file system developed by Wii homebrew coders kwiirk and Waninkoko. It uses Waninkoko's cIOS and works by creating a WBFS partition on a SD or USB device. A Wii homebrew application may then be run to dump a Wii game to the partition...

 (then a UPN
UPN
United Paramount Network was a television network that was broadcast in over 200 markets in the United States from 1995 to 2006. UPN was originally owned by Viacom/Paramount and Chris-Craft Industries, the former of which, through the Paramount Television Group, produced most of the network's...

 affiliate). Ramsay worked alongside announcer Eric Reid
Eric Reid
Eric Reid is the television play-by-play announcer for the Miami Heat and college football on Sun Sports.Reid has been with the Heat since the team's inaugural season. He was the Heat's color analyst for three seasons before taking over play-by-play duties in 1991, and has been their play-by-play...

, who still works Miami Heat games. During Ramsay's tenure as the Heat's commentator, he developed some memorable nicknames and phrases for the Heat players. Whenever All-Star point guard Tim Hardaway
Tim Hardaway
Timothy Duane "Tim" Hardaway is a retired American basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association and who in his prime was one of the league's best point guards...

 would make a 3-point shot, Dr. Jack would shout, "this away, that away, Hardaway!" Or if any Heat player made a nice shot, you would hear Dr. Jack scream "bottom of the net!"

In addition to his TV and radio work, Ramsay has also authored several books, including The Coach's Art (ISBN 0-917304-36-5) and Dr. Jack's Leadership Lessons Learned From a Lifetime in Basketball (ISBN 0-471-46929-7).

Personal


Ramsay's son-in-law Jim O'Brien previously was head coach of the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

 and the Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are members of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association...

. Grandson Geoff Dailey played baseball at Wesleyan University.

Ramsay is a cancer survivor, and a devout Roman Catholic.

Coaching record


|-
| align="left" |PHI
Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers are a professional basketball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . Originally known as the Syracuse Nationals, they are one of the oldest franchises in the NBA...


| align="left" |
|82||55||27||.671|| align="center" |2nd in East||5||1||4||.200
| align="center" |Lost in Division Semifinals
1969 NBA Playoffs
The 1969 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1968–1969 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Division champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Division champion Los Angeles Lakers, four games to three in the NBA Finals.Despite...


|-
| align="left" |PHI
| align="left" |
|82||42||40||.512|| align="center" |4th in East||5||1||4||.200
| align="center" |Lost in Division Semifinals
1970 NBA Playoffs
The 1970 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1969-1970 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Division champion New York Knicks defeating the Western Division champion Los Angeles Lakers, four games to three in the NBA Finals...


|-
| align="left" |PHI
| align="left" |
|82||47||35||.573|| align="center" |2nd in Atlantic||7||3||4||.429
| align="center" |Lost in Conf. Semifinals
1971 NBA Playoffs
The 1971 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1970-1971 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks defeating the Eastern Conference champion Baltimore Bullets, four games to none in the NBA Finals.Led by...


|-
| align="left" |PHI
| align="left" |
|82||30||52||.366|| align="center" |3rd in Atlantic||—||—||—||—
| align="center" |Missed Playoffs
|-
| align="left" |BUF
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are a professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California, United States. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association...


| align="left" |
|82||21||61||.256|| align="center" |3rd in Atlantic||—||—||—||—
| align="center" |Missed Playoffs
|-
| align="left" |BUF
| align="left" |
|82||42||40||.512|| align="center" |3rd in Atlantic||6||2||4||.333
| align="center" |Lost in Conf. Semifinals
1974 NBA Playoffs
The 1974 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1973-1974 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks, four games to three in the NBA Finals...


|-
| align="left" |BUF
| align="left" |
|82||49||33||.598|| align="center" |2nd in Atlantic||7||3||4||.429
| align="center" |Lost in Conf. Semifinals
1975 NBA Playoffs
The 1975 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1974-1975 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors defeating the Eastern Conference champion Washington Bullets, four games to none in the NBA Finals...


|-
| align="left" |BUF
| align="left" |
|82||46||36||.561|| align="center" |2nd in Atlantic||9||4||5||.444
| align="center" |Lost in Conf. Semifinals
1976 NBA Playoffs
The 1976 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1975-1976 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns, four games to two in the NBA Finals; the series was...


|-
| align="left" |POR
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . The Trail Blazers originally played their home games in the...


| align="left" |
|82||49||33||.598|| align="center" |2nd in Pacific||19||14||5||.737
| align="center" |Won NBA Championship
1977 NBA Finals
The 1977 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1976-77 NBA season. The Portland Trail Blazers of the Western Conference played against the Philadelphia 76ers of the Eastern Conference, with the 76ers holding home-court advantage. Their 4 regular season meetings had been...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||58||24||.707|| align="center" |1st in Pacific||6||2||4||.333
| align="center" |Lost in Conf. Semifinals
1978 NBA Playoffs
The 1978 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1977-1978 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Washington Bullets defeating the Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics four games to three in the Finals. Wes...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||45||37||.549|| align="center" |4th in Pacific||3||1||2||.333
| align="center" |Lost in First Round
1979 NBA Playoffs
The 1979 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1978-1979 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics defeating the Eastern Conference champion Washington Bullets four games to one in the Finals. The Sonics...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||38||44||.463|| align="center" |4th in Pacific||3||1||2||.333
| align="center" |Lost in First Round
1980 NBA Playoffs
The 1980 NBA Playoffs were the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1979-1980 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers four games to two in the Finals...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||45||37||.549|| align="center" |3rd in Pacific||3||1||2||.333
| align="center" |Lost in First Round
1981 NBA Playoffs
The 1981 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament which followed National Basketball Association's 1980–81 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics winning their 14th overall championship by defeating the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets in...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||42||40||.512|| align="center" |5th in Pacific||—||—||—||—
| align="center" |Missed Playoffs
|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||46||36||.561|| align="center" |4th in Pacific||7||3||4||.429
| align="center" |Lost in Conf. Semifinals
1983 NBA Playoffs
The 1983 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1982-1983 season. This was the final postseason using the 12-team format, before the NBA expanded the postseason to 16 teams the next season...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||48||34||.585|| align="center" |2nd in Pacific||5||2||3||.400
| align="center" |Lost in First Round
1984 NBA Playoffs
The 1984 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1983-84 season. This was the first postseason allowing sixteen teams to qualify, a format that is still in use as of 2011...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||42||40||.512|| align="center" |2nd in Pacific||9||4||5||.444
| align="center" |Lost in Conf. Semifinals
1985 NBA Playoffs
The 1985 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1984-85 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics, four games to two, in the NBA Finals...


|-
| align="left" |POR
| align="left" |
|82||40||42||.482|| align="center" |2nd in Pacific||4||1||3||.250
| align="center" |Lost in First Round
1986 NBA Playoffs
The 1986 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1985-86 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets, four games to two, in the NBA Finals. The Celtics won...


|-
| align="left" |IND
Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are members of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association...


| align="left" |
|82||41||41||.500|| align="center" |4th in Central||4||1||3||.250
| align="center" |Lost in First Round
1987 NBA Playoffs
The 1987 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1986-1987 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics four games to two in the Finals...


|-
| align="left" |IND
| align="left" |
|82||38||44||.463|| align="center" |6th in Central||—||—||—||—
| align="center" |Missed Playoffs
|-
| align="left" |IND
| align="left" |
|7||0||7||.000|| align="center" |(resigned)||—||—||—||—
| align="center" |-
|-class="sortbottom"
| align="left" |Career
| ||1647||864||783||.525|| ||102||44||58||.431