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The Last Dance

Who is Tex Winter? Fast facts on the Hall of Fame coach

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson might be the first people who come to mind when thinking about the "Last Dance" Chicago Bulls, but that team wouldn't have been as successful as it was were it not for Tex Winter.

Who is Winter? Here are some fast facts on the Hall of Fame coach.

Background

Winter was born on Feb. 25, 1922 in Wellington, Texas. He passed away on Oct. 10, 2018 at the age of 96.

College career

Winter attended college at Compton Junior College (1940-42), Oregon State University (1942-43) and the University of Southern California (1946-47). He was a member of the basketball team and track team in college.

Head coaching career

After graduating in 1947, Winter started his coaching career as an assistant under Hall of Fame head coach Jack Gardner at Kansas State. He left the program in 1951 to take over as head coach at Marquette.

Between 1951 and 1983, Winter spent time as the head coach of six different teams, including the NBA's Houston Rockets. His longest stint during that time came when he returned to Kansas State (1953-68) to take over as Gardner's successor.

As a head coach during his career, Winter had a 451-336 record in college and a 51-78 record in the NBA.

The Phil Jackson years

Former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause hired Winter to be an assistant coach in 1985. Four years later, Phil Jackson became the team's head coach, setting up an almost 20-year partnership between Winter and Jackson that would result in nine championships, six with the Bulls and three with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As an assistant coach on both the Bulls and Lakers, Winter helped install the triangle offence.

While origins of the triangle offence track back to Sam Barry, a Hall of Fame coach who coached at the University of Iowa and the University of Southern California between the years of 1922 and 1950, Winter is credited with popularizing it in the NBA.

"I learned so much from Coach Winter," Michael Jordan said following Winter's death. "His triangle offence was a huge part of our six championships with the Bulls. He was a tireless worker. Tex was always focused on details and preparation and a great teacher. I was lucky to play for him."

"Without Tex, we may never have won a title," Scottie Pippen tweeted. "He taught us how to slice and dice our opponents on the offensive end. We had the GOAT, but it was Tex's knowledge and triangle offence that helped us shred defenses."

"My mentor," Kobe Bryant tweeted. "I sat with Tex & watched every minute of every game during our 1st season together. He taught me how to study every detail. He was a bball genius in every sense of the word. I'll miss him deeply. Thank you Tex. I wouldn't be where I am today without you. Rest In Peace."

MORE: What is the triangle offence?

Accolades

In addition to winning nine championships as an assistant coach in the NBA, Winter was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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