Penn alum Jack Ramsay passes away

Hall of Fame basketball coach attended Penn for graduate school before coaching in NBA

· April 28, 2014, 6:41 pm   ·  Updated April 29, 2014, 1:27 am

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Jack Ramsay, often referred to as Dr. Jack, was born in Philadelphia in 1925 and went on to coach at St. Joe’s, his undergraduate alma mater, and led the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 title.


Jack Ramsay, a Hall of Fame basketball coach most recognized for his tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers in the late 1970s and 1980s, passed away due to cancer on Monday. He was 89 years old.

Often referred to as Dr. Jack, Ramsay was born in Philadelphia in 1925. The Hall of Famer later attended St. Joseph's as an undergraduate and played for the Hawks before receiving both a master's and doctorate degree from Penn. 

In fact, it was Ramsay's degrees from Penn that earned him the moniker 'Dr. Jack' by which so many individuals involved with the game of basketball came to know him.

Ramsay spent time both playing semi-pro basketball and coaching at the high school level. In 1955, he returned to St. Joe's, this time as head coach, and managed to lead the Hawks to their first postseason tournament -- the NIT -- in his first season on the job. 

In total, Ramsay took St. Joe's to the postseason 10 times in 11 seasons, including the 1961 Final Four.

Despite the success at St. Joe's, Ramsay is most remembered for his triumphs at the professional level.

Ramsay took over as general manager of the 76ers in 1966-67 and helped guide the team to an NBA title. He became head coach the following season.

In addition to his time in Philadelphia and with the Buffalo Braves, Ramsay is best known for his stint with the Trail Blazers. Dr. Jack took over in Portland in 1976-77 and, along with Bill Walton, guided the Blazers to the first playoff appearance and championship in franchise history.

Upon his retirement in 1988, Ramsay's 864 wins ranked second all-time in coaching victories behind only Red Auerbach's total.

In his later life, Ramsay became a broadcaster for ESPN, as well as a radio analyst for the Miami Heat. He was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1992.

Ramsay is survived by his four children and 13 grandchildren.

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