How Did Celtics Two Times NBA Coach of The Year Winner Die? Bill Fitch Death The death of Bill Fitch, the two-time NBA Coach of the Year, has shocked the entire globe. What killed him, and how did he die? Check it out.
Bill Fitch, who is recognized as one of the top ten NBA coaches, is without a doubt one of his generation’s most skilled and talented instructors.
He won the NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 1981. The NBA Coach of the Year Award was given to the Hall of Fame coach two times.
NBA: How Did Bill Fitch Die, Aged 89?
According to the sources, Bill Fitch died at the age of 89 this Wednesday.
Marcy Ann Coville, Bill’s daughter, confirmed his death. Marcy informed Pacers coach Rick Carlisle of the incident, and the coach later broke the news to the rest of the world.
Flitch’s professional coaching career began following a successful stint as a college coach. He had transformed several mediocre teams into playoff contenders.
He worked as a college coach at the University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota, Bowling Green State University, and Coe College.
Bill got hired as an NBA coach for the first time in 1970. He was in charge of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the time, and he had a successful nine-year tenure with them.
Then, in 1979 coach Bill would move on to coach Boston Celtics and would enjoy more success as there he won the second coach of the year award and led the team to become NBA champions.
Coach Of Celtics Bill Fitch Death Cause & Obituary
The cause of death for former Boston Celtics coach Bill Fitch has yet to be confirmed.
However, the obituaries about his death did mention that the veteran coach died peacefully with his family.
Hall of Famer Bill Fitch, twice Coach of the Year and a champion with Boston in 1981 as Larry Bird’s first NBA coach, has died at age 89.
Fitch’s passing was confirmed by daughter Marcy Ann Coville via Indiana’s Rick Carlisle, who broke into coaching under Fitch in New Jersey. pic.twitter.com/IsTcCDOAMR
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 3, 2022
Bill, who was born on May 19, 1932, in Davenport, Iowa, was well past his prime and very old. As a result, there is a strong chance that the veteran died of old age.
There was no news or information about his health problems prior to his death. As a result, we are unable to link any disease to his death.
Bill Fitch Wife & Children Details
Although there have been no reports of Bill Fitch being ill, his wife and children have suffered from chronic disease in the past.
Joni Fitch, Fitch’s wife, was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in 2006 and died from it in 2011.
I am so sad to learn that Hall of Fame coach Bill Fitch has passed away. Fitch was the coach of the Rockets when I fell in love with the team and led Houston on a thrill ride to the Finals in 1986 when the city really became crazy about the “unbeatable” Rockets. RIP. pic.twitter.com/QcV5FJaKN5
— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) February 3, 2022
Bill and Jonu first met back in 1979. Bill was already a well-known coach at the time, and Jonu was a flight attendant for United Airlines.
Lisa Flint, Flint’s daughter, who worked as a coach at the University of Akron, Wright State University, Walsh University, and several other high schools, was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
Did Bill Fitch win a championship?
Fitch led the Cavs for their first nine seasons and was at the helm for the ‘Miracle of Richfield’ in 1976. He later won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics.
A man with a knack for turning sorry teams into winners, Fitch coached five different clubs across a 25-season NBA career, notably winning a league championship with the Boston Celtics in 1981. However, his longest tenure with any organization came with the Cavs, whom he led from 1970-79.
A native of Iowa, Fitch got his first head coaching job at his alma mater Coe College in 1958 before moving on to North Dakota, whom he piloted to back-to-back Division II Final Four appearances. His fist foray with Ohio hoops came at Bowling Green, which made its most-recent NCAA Division I Tournament appearance during his only season in 1967-68.
A two-year stop at Minnesota followed before Fitch was hired to coach the NBA’s expansion franchise in Cleveland in 1970. The task ahead of him was daunting, and that inaugural club lost its first 15 games and wound up finishing 15-67 — still tied for the worst record in team history. The Cavaliers slowly improved in the standings, particularly after the drafting of Austin Carr in 1971 and the opening of the glistening Richfield Coliseum in ’74, but still failed to make the playoffs during each of their first five seasons.
Despite a record of more than 100 games below .500, the Cavs brass stuck with Fitch, and their patience finally paid off in the spring of 1976 with a Central Division championship and a berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They were considered underdogs against the star-studded Washington Bullets, but the series quickly turned into a classic with several nail-biting finishes. In Game 7 at the Coliseum, Dick Snyder’s driving layup in the final seconds and a missed jumper by Phil Chenier as time expired gave Cleveland a thrilling 87-85 win to cap what will forever be known as “The Miracle of Richfield.”
Fitch was named NBA Coach of the Year for his efforts, but his squad’s hopes in the East Finals against Boston were dashed by a foot injury to center Jim Chones. The Cavaliers would get back to the postseason each of the next two years, but lost in the first round each time, and Fitch wound up stepping down after a 30-52 campaign in 1978-79.
Just two days after leaving Cleveland, Fitch was snatched up by the Celtics, who were coming off a paltry 29-53 record but had drafted Larry Bird out of Indiana State. With new coach and star player in tow, Boston improved to 61 wins with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, earning Fitch his second Coach of the Year Award. The next season, they stormed through the playoffs before besting the Houston Rockets in six games in the NBA Finals to win the first of three titles in the Bird era.
Despite his success and a solid relationship with Bird, an ownership change led to Fitch resigning in 1983 and jumping to Houston, where he led the Rockets from just 14 wins in the year before his arrival to an NBA Finals loss to the Celtics in ’86. Stints with the New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Clippers followed, and Fitch led both teams to playoff appearances before his career ended with his firing by LA in 1998.
Fitch finished with an all-time NBA record of 944-1,106 as well as a 181-115 mark in college. He remains 11th on the NBA’s career wins list, and took each of the five teams he coached to the postseason at least once.
Yet for years, Fitch was passed over for election to the National Basketball Hall of Fame, partly due to his underwhelming .460 NBA winning percentage — lower than any other enshrinee with at least 400 games coached in the league. But his supporters noted his impeccable track record of rebuilding last-place teams into bona fide contenders, and he finally got the call from Springfield in 2019. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the ceremony in-person due to health problems, but spoke via a recorded message with a 1970s Cavaliers jacket displayed prominently in the background.
The longest-tenured coach in Cleveland history, Fitch’s 304 wins with the Cavs are still second-most in franchise history behind fellow Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, and following the “Miracle” of 1976 the team would not win another playoff series until 1992 nor another division crown until 2009. The same year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he was also a part of the organization’s inaugural “Wall of Honor” class.
When did Bill Fitch coach the Celtics?