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Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Ramsay Passes Away at Age 89

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Dr. Jack Ramsay, one of the greatest NBA coaches of his time and a legendary broadcaster whose infallible knowledge enlightened fans for decades in his post-coaching days, died in his sleep early Monday morning.

amsay’s passing. His funeral is scheduled for Thursday, though details on private and public viewings have not been specified.

Over the past 15 years, Ramsay dealt with various forms of cancer. In 1999, he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer. Five years later, he was diagnosed with melanoma before experiencing bladder cancer and tumors both in his brain and lungs. As noted by Jason Quick of The Oregonian, Ramsay’s latest health scare with a bone marrow disease proved to be too much.

The legendary coach spent his final days in hospice care at his Naples, Florida, home. He was surrounded by friends and family, each of whom were able to reminisce in Ramsay’s final days about a man whose impact—both on and off the court—touched so many.

Ramsay was an NBA coach for parts of 21 seasons. He made relatively short stops in Philadelphia, Buffalo and Indiana. But nowhere was Dr. Jack more appreciated nor his legacy more celebrated than in the Rose City.


In his first season with the Trail Blazers, Ramsay led Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas and an eclectic group of Portland stars to the franchise’s first and only NBA championship. The first six years of the franchise prior to Ramsay’s arrival went without so much as a playoff appearance.

In his decade at the helm, Portland missed the playoffs just once. While myriad factors—most notably injuries, specifically to Walton—altered the trajectory of those late-1970s Blazers teams, Ramsay remains far and away Portland’s most successful head coach. The team made three conference semifinals to go along with the 1976-77 championship.

Ramsay was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and compiled an 864-783 overall record as a head coach.

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