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Ramsay was more than just a basketball coach

Son of former Sixers owner Irv Kosloff recalls Jack Ramsay as a good friend and basketball innovator.

Jack Ramsay. (Photo provided by Saint Joseph's University)
Jack Ramsay. (Photo provided by Saint Joseph's University)Read more

JACK RAMSAY was a member of the 76ers' family for 6 years. In his first 2 years with the club, he served as general manager and the team won the NBA championship in his first year. After coach Alex Hannum left for greener pastures, Ramsay wore two hats for another 2 years, serving as head coach and general manager, before just coaching his last 2 years before bolting for Buffalo in 1972.

Throughout his time with the Sixers, Irv Kosloff was the team's owner. They formed a bond.

Kosloff's son Ted said he remembers his dad going out to Portland to see Ramsay and his Trail Blazers, who went on to beat the Sixers in the 1977 NBA Finals. But by that time, the team was owned by Fitz Dixon.

"He had a wonderful family," Ted recalled yesterday. "His wife Jean and their kids. He was one of those people you could learn a lot from, who would make people better people."

But what set Ramsay apart as a basketball coach was his attention to conditioning. A triathlete who competed well into his 70s, Ramsay practiced what he preached.

"I think, with Jack, he's going to be remembered for the fitness innovations that he made," Ted said.

At a time when fitness was an afterthought in basketball, something that only football players did, Ramsay changed the mindset. And, according to Kosloff, Ramsay's philosophy worked on both sides of the ball.

"One thing he was known for was his defense," Kosloff said. "But the records will show that his teams were very high scoring. Why were they high scoring? Because he was running the ball and getting people to go up and down the court real quick, which is what made him successful."

It is what his teams in Portland would eventually do.

"He wanted the Sixers to be a young and hungry team," Kosloff said, "like what he had in Portland with [Bill] Walton and those guys."