CHICAGO – Fred “Tex” Winter, the pioneer of the triangle offense, died Wednesday at the age of 96, the Chicago Bulls confirmed.
Winter spent 14 years with the Bulls as an assistant coach from 1985-99. Chicago, led by head coach Phil Jackson and star player Michael Jordan, won six NBA titles during his tenure.
“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game,” Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said in a statement. “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 followed Jackson to Los Angeles, where Winter spent five years as an assistant with the Lakers from 1999-2004. The Lakers won three titles in that time, and Winter was a consultant when the team won it all again in 2009.
“On behalf of the entire Lakers organization, I’d like to express our sadness at the passing of Tex Winter,” said Lakers CEO and controlling owner Jeanie Buss in a statement. “Tex helped lead the team to four NBA Championships and was a mentor to many of our coaches and players. In addition to his numerous contributions to the game of basketball, Tex was a wonderful man and he will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Winter family.”
Prior to his success as an NBA assistant, Winter spent two seasons as head coach of the Houston Rockets from 1971-73 and posted a 51-78 record.
Winter’s collegiate coaching career included a successful 15-year run at Kansas State from 1953-68. The Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament six times in that span, including two Final Four appearances.
“We are saddened by the passing of such a legendary coach in Tex Winter, who touched nearly every level of basketball,” K-State men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber said in a tweet. “He left a tremendous mark of achievement at K-State. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, their children and grandchildren.”
Winter also coached at Marquette, Washington, Northwestern and Long Beach State. His career record was 451-336.
Winter was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
–Field Level Media