Lowell "Cotton" Fitzsimmons
Lowell “Cotton” Fitzsimmons grew up in a small town situated about 90 miles northwest of St. Louis, Missouri. There, life was hard work, scraping by, and basketball. Lots and lots of basketball. Cotton was the runt of the bunch, but his heart and determination landed him at Hannibal-LaGrange Junior College where he made All-America before heading to Midwestern State University in Texas. Cotton already knew he wanted to coach and so he returned to Missouri where he took the head coaching job at Moberly Junior College. Back-to-back national championships followed, then a brief stop at Kansas State where he led the Wildcats to a conference title and caught the eye of Jerry Colangelo, general manager of the Phoenix Suns. Fitzsimmons coached 21 seasons in the NBA, including eight in Phoenix, winning more than 800 games. Twice he earned NBA Coach of the Year honors. He led the Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Kansas City Kings, and Atlanta Hawks to playoff appearances, including two runs with the Suns to the Western Conference Finals.
BornOctober 07, 1931 Hannibal, MS
DiedJuly 24, 2004