Chris Ford, the longtime Celtics coach who also won the 1981 NBA Championship with Boston as a player, died Tuesday at the age of 74, the team announced.
The Press of Athletic City reported Ford died Tuesday in Philadelphia after suffering a heart attack.
“Chris was beloved by his family, friends and teammates. He had a great love for his family, the city of Boston, the fans and the entire Celtics family,” the family said in a statement released by the Celtics. “He always showed humility and respect for all those that were fortunate enough to be a part of his life.”
Ford, who was also credited with scoring the NBA’s first 3-point basket, was a Celtics assistant from 1983-1990 under K.C. Jones, helping the Larry Bird-led team and to world championship in 1984 and 1986. He played 11 seasons in the NBA, seven with the Detroit Pistons and four with Boston, averaging 9.2 points and 3.4 assists. Ford, one of four ex-Celtics to win a ring as a player and coach, was voted Boston’s team MVP in 1978-79 before retiring from playing after the 1981-82 campaign.
He finally became the Celtics’ head coach from 1990-95, posting five wining seasons, four playoff appearances and a 222-188 record. The Atlantic City native, who was drafted out of Villanova by the Pistons in 1972, also had head coaching stints with the Bucks and Clippers.
“As a player and coach, Chris Ford’s career spanned over a decade of Celtics basketball, and he made his mark every step of the way,” the Celtics said in a statement. “‘Doc,’ as he was affectionately known by his teammates, was a fundamentally versatile all-around guard. … The Boston Celtics sends their deepest sympathies to the Ford family and their many friends.”
— with AP