Auerbach, Red

Auerbach, Red (Arnold Jacob Auerbach) ouˈərbăkˌ, –bäkˌ [key], 1917–2006, American basketball coach and executive, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. As coach of the Boston Celtics (1950–66), he built the last-place club into one of the most dominant teams in the history of professional sports with the help of players such as Bob Cousy and Bill Russell. His Celtics won nine championships, eight consecutively (1957, 1959–66). Auerbach also broke the color bar in professional basketball, becoming the first NBA coach to draft (1950) an African American, and the first to field (1963–64) an all-black starting five. He retired as coach in 1966 with a career winning percentage of .662. His all-time record for wins as a coach (1,037, including playoff victories) was later broken by Lenny Wilkens. Auerbach also served as the team's general manager (1950–84) and president (1970–1997, 2001–6).

See his autobiography (1977); B. Russell, Red and Me (2009).

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