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Dr. Jack T. Ramsay (born February 21, 1925, in Philadelphiamarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, United States) is an American former basketball coach, commonly known as "Dr. Jack". He is best known for coaching the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1976-1977 NBA Championship, and for his broadcasting work with the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat, and for ESPN TV and ESPN Radio. Ramsay is the seventh-winningest coach in NBA history, and a member of the Basketball Hall of Famemarker.


Ramsay graduated from Upper Darby High School marker in 1942. He was inducted into the school's Wall of Fame in 1979. He received his bachelor's degree from Saint Joseph's Collegemarker in 1949, and his masters and doctorate degrees (the latter in education) from the University of Pennsylvaniamarker in 1952 and 1963, respectively.

Coaching career


After coaching in the high school and minor-league ranks for the early postwar years, he became head coach at his alma mater, Saint Joseph's Collegemarker, in 1955. In his first season, Ramsay would lead the Hawks to their first Big 5 crown and their first-ever postseason berth (in the NIT). Ramsay would remain there through 1966, leading the Hawks to six more Big 5 crowns and ten postseason appearances (including a Final Four) in all.


Immediately after leaving Saint Joseph's, he was hired as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, who won an NBA title in his first season in the front office. In 1968, he left the front office to take over as head coach of the Sixers. In his four seasons as coach, he led the team to three playoff appearances; however, his management of the roster was far less successful, as he traded away Hall of Fame caliber players such as all-time great Wilt Chamberlain and Chet Walker for distinctly inferior returns, which set the team on the road to oblivion. After the 1971-72 season when the havoc he had wreaked on the 76ers organization was obvious and that team was about to commence the worst season in NBA history, Ramsay took the head coaching job with the Buffalo Braves. His tenure was almost a mirror image of his time with the Sixers—four seasons, three playoff berths; however, he did not leave Buffalo in the sort of wreckage that had occurred in Philadelphia.

His next coaching stop in the NBA was his most famous, with the Portland Trail Blazers. When he arrived in 1976, the Blazers had not made the playoffs or compiled a winning record in their six-year history. However, he arrived just as a young team, led by Bill Walton, started to gel, and also benefited from the ABA dispersal draft in the 1976 off-season, in which the Blazers picked up hard-nosed power forward Maurice Lucas. In his first season in Portland (1977), Ramsay led the Blazers to their only NBA title to date. In his second season, the Blazers were 50-10 after 60 games and favored to repeat as champions before the always-fragile Walton, in the midst of a season in which he would be named the league MVP, broke his foot, the first of the numerous major injuries that radically shortened his career. Ramsay continued to coach the Blazers until 1986 with general success, although he was never able to approach the level of his first seasons there. He was also a coach in the 1978 All-Star Game. Ramsay coached the Indiana Pacers for the 1986-87 season before retiring. At that time, he was second on the all-time wins list for NBA coaches, trailing Red Auerbach.

Broadcasting and media

Ramsay later spent nine years as a television color commentator for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, and continues to do NBA game commentary for ESPN TV and ESPN Radio. Dr. Jack worked for the Miami Heat from 1992 until 2002. The games were broadcast from South Florida's Sunshine Network (now Sun Sports), Fox Sports Florida, and sometimes local Miami station WBFSmarker (then a UPN affiliate). Ramsay worked alongside announcer Eric Reid, who still works Miami Heat games. During Ramsay's tenure as the Heat's commentator, he developed some memorable nicknames and phrases for the Heat players. Whenever All-Star point guard Tim Hardaway would make a 3-point shot, Dr. Jack would shout, "this away, that away, Hardaway!" Or if any Heat player made a nice shot, you would hear Dr. Jack scream "bottom of the net!"

In addition to his TV and radio work, Ramsay has also authored several books, including The Coach's Art (ISBN 0-917304-36-5) and Dr. Jack's Leadership Lessons Learned From a Lifetime in Basketball (ISBN 0-471-46929-7).



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