Former coach Tex Winter passed away at age 96 late Wednesday evening.
Winter is known as the innovator of the triangle offense used by all-time great head coach Phil Jackson en route to NBA championships with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers.
Winter served as head coach at Kansas State for 15 years, leading the Wildcats to two Final Four appearances.
He made the jump to the NBA in 1971, becoming the head coach of the Houston Rockets for two seasons. In 1985 he was hired as an assistant coach to Phil Jackson in Chicago, implementing the triangle offense for Jordan and the Bulls. He played a key part in their titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998 before he and Jackson went to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.
Michael Jordan on the passing of Tex Winter:"I learned so much from Coach Winter. He was a pioneer and a true student of the game of basketball. His triangle offense was a huge part of our six championships with the Bulls. (1/2)- Estee Portnoy (@esteep) October 11, 2018
...He was a tireless worker, always focused on details and preparation, and a great teacher. I learned so much from Coach Winter and was lucky to play for him. My condolences to his family." Michael Jordan (2/2)- Estee Portnoy (@esteep) October 11, 2018
With the Lakers, they continued to run the triangle, earning championships in 2000 and 2002.
On the passing of the late Tex Winter, Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson stated: "Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game. He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached everyday. 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 was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.