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ARNOLD "RED" AUERBACH
HEAD BASKETBALL COACH
BOSTON CELTICS
(1950-1966)

Arnold "Red" Auerbach was the coach and mastermind behind one of the most dominant franchises in professional sports history, the Boston Celtics. The cigar-chomping Auerbach was an aggressive, demanding and often volatile coach who coached 11 Hall of Fame players and led the Celtics to eight consecutive NBA championships from 1959 to 1966, a streak unmatched in NBA history. His 938-479 (.662) career coaching record ranks 5th in NBA all-time history. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1965 and was selected as the NBA's 25th Anniversary All-Time Team Coach in 1970. In 1980, the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America (PBWAA) named Auerbach the greatest coach in the history of the NBA.

From 1966-84, in his role as general manager, Auerbach's Celtics won another six championships. In 1984, he retired as GM but remained the team's president, with the Celtics winning their 16th title in 1986. Today, Auerbach is vice chairman of the board.

Auerbach began his coaching career in 1946 in the old Basketball Association of America with the Washington Capitals. He led the Caps to the 1947 and 1949 division titles.

After coaching, Auerbach joined the Celtics front office and in 1980 was named NBA Executive of the Year.

Auerbach was born on September 20, 1917 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of hard-working immigrants from Minsk, Russia. He started playing basketball at P.S. 122 in Brooklyn and became a star guard for Eastern District High School, making all-scholastic second team as a senior. He went on to star as a basketball player at George Washington University. He began his coaching career at St. Albans Prep School and Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C., before serving in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946.

Probably Auerbach's most notable attribute was he was colorblind. He did not see black or white players on the court, just players who could help him win. In 1950, he became the first to draft an African-American player (Chuck Cooper). He was the first coach to start five blacks and the first executive to hire a black coach (Bill Russell).