MANHATTAN, Kan. – Tex Winter, the innovative “Triangle Offense” pioneer who assisted Phil Jackson on 11 NBA championship teams with the Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, has died. He was 96.
Kansas State University said Winter died Wednesday in Manhattan.
“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game,” said Bulls executive vice president John Paxson, a former player under Winter. “He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached every day. Those of us who were lucky enough to play for him will always respect his devotion to the game of basketball. His contributions to the Bulls organization will always be remembered.”
Winter published “The Triple-Post Offense” in 1962 and teamed with Jackson to use the system to great success with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Winter assisted Jackson on championship teams with the Bulls in 1991, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97 and ’98, and the Lakers in 1999, 2000, ’01, ’02 and ’09.
Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, Winter spent more than six decades in coaching. He was 451-336 as a college head coach at Marquette (1951 to ’53), Kansas State (1954 to ’68), Washington (1969 to ’72), Northwestern (1975 to ’78) and Long Beach State (1978 to ’83). He coached the Houston Rockets from 1972 to ’74, going 51-78.
“Today is a sad day for not only Kansas State University but also the entire basketball world with the passing of Coach Winter,” K-State athletic director Gene Taylor said in a statement. “He transformed the game of basketball at all levels and will always remain an integral piece of our rich basketball tradition here at K-State. ”
Born Morice Fredrick Winter in 1922 near Wellington, Texas, he grew up in Huntington Park, California, he starred at Oregon State and Southern California in basketball and as a pole vaulter. He entered coaching at Kansas State in 1947 under Jack Gardner.