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Former Bullets head coach K.C. Jones passes away

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One of the Washington Wizards’ best head coaches in franchise history died today. Though he is better known as a Hall of Fame player and head coach for the Boston Celtics, Jones led Washington to the 1975 NBA Finals and had a great tenure with them, even if they didn’t win a championship during his time there.

Washington Bullets vs. Boston Celtics
K.C. Jones was the Washington Bullets’ head coach from 1973-76.
Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Wizards have lost another famous figure in franchise history. Today, K.C. Jones, their head coach from 1973-76 died at the age of 88. Jones had Alzheimer’s Disease in the last several years.

Jones led the then-Capital Bullets (1973-74) and Washington Bullets (1974-76) to three playoff appearances, including a trip to the 1975 NBA Finals when they lost to the Golden State Warriors. He had a 155-91 record with the Wizards franchise or a .630 winning percentage in the regular season and a 14-17 record in the postseason. The Bullets were the first team that K.C. Jones had a head coaching job with.

Though he is an important figure in Wizards franchise history, Jones is better known as a Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame player (1958-67) where he played his entire career with the Boston Celtics, was part of eight NBA championships from 1959-66 and played alongside NBA legend Bill Russell. Jones’ ties with Russell go further than the Celtics. He also played college basketball at the University of San Francisco with Russell where they were part of two NCAA championship teams in 1954-55 and 1955-56.

Jones also has a distinguished coaching resume in his own right beyond his Bullets days. He eventually became the Celtics’ head coach from 1983-88 where he won two NBA championships in 1984 and 1986 during the Larry Bird Era. Jones finished his NBA coaching era with the Seattle SuperSonics (1990-92) and has a cumulative record of 522-252 in the regular season and 81-57 in the postseason.

After his NBA coaching career ended, Jones also led the New England Blizzard of the now-defunct ABL from 1996-98, a women’s professional basketball league that competed against the WNBA in its early days.

2020 has been rough in sports and also for the Wizards, even without the coronavirus pandemic. NBA Commissioner David Stern passed away on New Year’s Day. Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died weeks later. And for the Wizards themselves, former first round pick Jerry Sloan, Washington GOAT Wes Unseld and former owner Irene Pollin have also passed. This year has been brutal, and one of our own has passed on Christmas Day.

Rest in peace, coach.