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Legendary coach Bill Fitch will be inducted into Naismith Hall of Fame

Bill Fitch, Naismith

The long wait is over. 86 year-old Bill Fitch, who spent almost three decades as an NBA coach, will finally be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Fitch is currently ranked 10th among coaches with the most wins in the history of the NBA with 944.

He began his coaching career with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 1970-71 season but only managed to lead the team to an abysmal 15-67 record. But the improvement continued over the next four seasons. In 1975, Fitch led the Cavaliers to 49 wins. The team made the playoffs and reached the Eastern Conference Finals, but lost to the Boston Celtics in six games. Still, that season was so remarkable for the Cavs that it was dubbed as the “The Miracle of Ritchfield.” Fitch won his first Coach of the Year award at the end of that season.

Fitch then moved to the Celtics in 1979 and immediately made them one of the best teams in the league. Boston, who won 29 games prior to that season, ended up winning 61 games under Fitch. They won the Atlantic Division title but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Fitch would later be awarded his second Coach of the Year honors.

Bill led the Celtics to an NBA championship in 1981.

In 1983, Fitch resigned as the coach of the Celtics and was immediately hired by the Houston Rockets. His first few seasons with the team was a bit underwhelming, but in 1986, he led the team to a Western Conference title after pulling off an upset over the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Rockets would end up losing to the Celtics in the Finals.

Fitch spent two more seasons with the team before getting fired in 1988.

He spent seven more seasons in the NBA after his stint with the Rockets; three with the New Jersey Nets (1989-1992) and four with the Los Angeles Clippers (1994-1998).

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