The fourth person ever to be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and a coach, Thomas William Heinsohn played nine standout seasons for the Boston Celtics before trying his luck as the head man. Heinsohn began his coaching career with the Celtics in 1969, one season after his former teammate Bill Russell had retired as player-coach. Heinsohn put in nine more seasons for his beloved Celtics, adding two NBA championships for the storied franchise and being named NBA Coach of the Year in 1973. That season saw the Celtics win a league-best 68 games before making a run all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The following season, Heinsohn led his undersized squad all the way to the NBA Finals raising banner Number 12 in the Boston Garden. Two years later, in 1976, Heinsohn - a player’s coach if there ever was one - led the Celtics to Lucky Number 13 in a memorable six-game series with the Phoenix Suns. His pressure defense and fast-break offense defined his style, much like his coaching mentor’s, Red Auerbach.
BornAugust 26, 1934 Jersey City, NJ
DiedNovember 09, 2020
Professional CareerBoston Celtics
FINISHES IN ATLANTIC DIVISION
BOSTON CELTICS, 1972-77
AS A PLAYER