Winter Named to Basketball Hall of Fame
Winter Named to Basketball Hall of Fame
Winter, who led the Wildcats to 261 wins and eight conference titles from 1954-68, was joined in the 2010 Hall of Fame induction class with players Christian Laettner (Duke), David Thompson (N.C. State), Jerry West (West Virginia) and Sidney Wicks (UCLA), fellow coach Davey Whitney (Alcorn State) and contributors Wayne Duke and Tom Jernstedt. Winter is the first person with K-State ties to be named to the Hall of Fame.
The 2010 induction ceremonies will be held on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010, at the College Basketball Experience (CBE) and the historic Midland Theatre in Kansas City, Mo. The CBE shares a common lobby with the Sprint Center and is the home of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
A renowned basketball innovator credited with the triangle offense, Winter led the Wildcats to a 261-118 (.689) record from 1954 to 1968, which included eight Big Seven/Eight conference titles, five Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament crowns and six trips to the NCAA Tournament. His 261 wins rank second all-time in school history behind Jack Hartman's 295, while he is second in NCAA Tournament victories (seven) and 20-win seasons (five). Winter's .689 winning percentage ranks fourth all-time in school history behind Zora Clevenger (.761; 1916-20); current head coach Frank Martin (.702) and E.A. Knoth (.700; 1920-21). He also laid claim to more conference titles (eight) than any other head coach in the program's history, while his teams finished among the Top 20 nationally nine times in his 15 seasons, including No. 1 in both polls in 1958-59. He is the only person to be affiliated with all four of Kansas State's Final Four teams (1948, 1951, 1959 and 1964).
A native of Huntington Park, Calif., Winter began his coaching career as the first time full-time assistant at K-State for Gardner from 1947-51. Like Gardner, he graduated from the University of Southern California [in 1947], where he learned the triangle offense from Sam Barry. An All-American pole vaulter for the Trojans, he became the youngest coach in the nation at Marquette in 1951, guiding the Warriors to the National Catholic Championship in his first season. He replaced Gardner as K-State head coach in 1953 after his departure to Utah.
There were several outstanding teams under Winter, two of which advanced to the Final Four. He won four consecutive conference championships from 1957 to 1961, including earning the school's first No. 1 ranking during the 1957-58 season, while he won back-to-back crowns in 1962-64 and then another in final season in 1967-68. The 1957-58 squad, anchored by All-Americans Bob Boozer and Jack Parr, lost just three games in the regular season, advancing to the school's third Final Four. The Wildcats lost to Seattle and Temple in the Final Four.
Spearheaded by the play of Boozer, the 1958-59 squad was ranked among the nation's Top 5 all season and spent numerous weeks as the nation's No. 1 ranked team before falling in the Midwest Regional Finals to Oscar Robertson and No. 5 Cincinnati. The squad won a still school-record 25 games and went a perfect 14-0 in Big Eight play for the first and only time in school history. Then, in 1964, the Wildcats charged back to the Final Four, knocking off Texas-El Paso and No. 5 Wichita State in the Midwest Regional before being eliminated by eventual champion UCLA, 90-84.
Winter coached two All-Americans, including the school's first and only two-time consensus first team All-American in Bob Boozer, while he guided 11 players to all-conference selection. He was named National Coach of the Year by United Press International (UPI) in 1958, while he was selected as conference Coach of the Year for three consecutive years from 1957-60.
Following his departure from K-State in 1968, Winter served shorter stints as head coach at Washington (1969-72), the NBA's Houston Rockets (1972-74), Northwestern (1975-78) and Long Beach State (1978-83). In total, he won 454 games at the collegiate level. He went 51-78 during his two-year stint with the Rockets.
In 1985, Winter started another chapter of his life, serving as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls under Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, and teaching the triangle offense to one of the all-time greats, Michael Jordan. He was hired to the position by General Manager Jerry Krause, an old friend he had met while at K-State. As an assistant to Jackson, who took over as the Bulls' head coach in 1989, Winter was an integral part of the Bulls' NBA championships in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998. Winter followed Jackson to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he collected four additional championship rings in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2009. He retired from basketball following the Lakers' last championship this past spring.
Winter earned a reputation as one of the most creative offensive coaches in the land, and in 1962, published a book on the offense entitled The Triple-Post Offense.
A member of both the state of Kansas Hall of Fame as well as the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame, among others, Winter was honored with the John Bunn Award for lifetime achievement from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was recently elected to the final ballot for the Naismith Hall of Fame for the seventh time.
Winter is now retired to his home in Oregon.