Jack McKinney Dies at 83
Jack McKinney was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers for the 1979-80 season, inheriting Kareem Abdul Jabbar as well as promising rookie point guard Magic Johnson as players to coach. Unfortunately, however, his tenure with them was short lived due to suffering serious head injuries during a bike accident that claimed his life prematurely.
Early Life and Education
Jack McKenney grew up in a small town and credits his eldest sister with instilling in him an excellent work ethic and developing him over time as a pharmacist.
Riley and Westhead may have been the pioneers of Showtime basketball in 1979; however, McKinney was instrumental in bringing up-tempo basketball to Los Angeles at that time. Unfortunately, his bicycle accident resulted in his coma, thus ending his coaching career prematurely.
McKinney did not train as a philosopher, yet managed to publish several notable philosophical articles and books despite not receiving formal training in that discipline. One such work, entitled The Structure of Modern Thought was highly commended by Jack Smart – father of Australian materialist philosophy. McKinney lived between Surfers Paradise and Tamborine Mountain with his wife Judith Wright.
McKinney took his big break as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 after serving as an assistant coach for many years. Jerry Buss saw something special in him and hired him to lead a squad featuring center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and rookie superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
But an unfortunate cycling accident led to his dismissal from this role prematurely. Though not as dramatic as depicted in episode five of Winning Time, McKinney lost control of his bike and crashed onto the road, ending his tenure.
McKenney would later move back to Pennsylvania and work at a sports apparel company while also serving as an analyst for Philadelphia 76ers games on radio. He remains married to Claire.
Achievement and Honors
After nearly half a season of buildup, this week’s episode of Winning Time sees actual NBA games take place for the Lakers – but perhaps the most surprising moment may lie at its conclusion.
This episode depicts a Lakers training camp where players resist McKinney’s style – including using more ball and playing faster basketball – but his actual roster was quite different from what is depicted here.
He later served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, leading them to three playoff appearances during his three years there. Additionally, he had great success coaching Saint Joseph’s college basketball for eight years – amassing a 144-77 record over that time frame while leading four NCAAA tournament appearances as successor to Jim Ramsay. Prior to his death on September 25, 2018 – in Florida; his brain donation is scheduled. Those left behind include Claire as his spouse; two daughters (Susan McKinney Holtbe) son John Dennis plus eight grandchildren!
Jack McKinney passed away peacefully at 83 years old, leaving behind his wife, daughter, and 3 grandchildren he also leaves behind two sisters: Katy Lassen and Sarah Mapp.
He was an incredible individual who always put others before themselves and will be greatly missed by many.
On the show, Paul Westhead is cycling to meet him for a game of tennis when his gears lock up, leading him to an accident which results in serious brain injuries and his retirement from coaching and work as a sales representative for a sporting goods company (also serving Philadelphia 76ers broadcasts occasionally). Unfortunately for Paul, some coaches have died as a result of these accidents in real life; but not so in fiction! Eventually he went on to work as sales representative at sporting goods company before filling in on Philadelphia 76ers broadcasts occasionally as sales representative sales representative sales representative while occasionally filling in on Philadelphia 76ers broadcasts.
Winning Time on HBO has garnered considerable acclaim among viewers. Many applaud its depiction of Los Angeles Lakers’ rise and sacrifices that helped lead them there today.
Jack McKinney made great sacrifices for the Lakers’ success, such as being involved in an unfortunate bike accident which caused serious brain injuries at age 83, prompting Paul Westhead to replace him after 14 games as coach.
Born in Chester, Pennsylvania to a police detective and homemaker, he passed away peacefully at hospice care facility in Bonita Springs Florida at age 83.