Fred “Tex” Winter, basketball innovator and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, died Wednesday. He was 96.
Winter is known as the mastermind of the famed triangle offense that helped win a combined nine NBA championships during his tenure as an assistant coach under Phil Jackson with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
Winter began his coaching career in 1947 as an assistant at Kansas State. In 1951, he became coach at Marquette for two seasons before returning to Kansas State in 1953. During Winter’s 15 seasons as K-State coach, the Wildcats made six NCAA tournament appearances and reached the Final Four twice. The 1964 season under Winters remains the school’s last Final Four appearance.
Kansas State University said Winter died Wednesday in Manhattan.
“I learned so much from Coach Winter. He was a pioneer and a true student of the game. His triangle offense was a huge part of our six championships with the Bulls,” Michael Jordan wrote in an emailed statement to the Chicago Tribune. “Tex was always focused on details and preparation and a great teacher. I was lucky to play for him. My condolences to his family.”
Others in the game reacted to Winter’s impact.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Jim Reineking