Monday, October 30, 2006

Stumpy Joe Scores!

Red Auerbach, who built the Boston Celtics into one of the greatest dynasties in sports, presiding over 16 National Basketball Association championship teams as a coach, general manager and club president, died Saturday in Washington. He was 89.

Red Auerbach’s cigar was a sure sign that the Boston Celtics had won. He was the team’s general manager when the Celtics won the 1984 title.

His death was announced by the Celtics. The cause was a heart attack, The Associated Press reported.

A presence in pro basketball for 60 years — his coaching career stretching back to the birth of the N.B.A. — Auerbach had a relentless will to win and he was a supreme judge of talent. He was a combative figure who always sought an edge, whether taunting his foes by lighting premature victory cigars on the bench or going jaw to jaw with the referees. Auerbach coached the Celtics to nine N.B.A. championships, eight of them consecutively from 1959 to 1966. He built another six championship teams as the Celtics’ general manager and oversaw a final one, in 1986, as the team’s president, a position he held at the time of his death.