K.C. Jones (born May 25 1932 in Taylor, Texas) is an American former professional basketball player and coach. He played college basketball at the University of San Francisco and, along with Bill Russell, led the Dons to two NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956. Jones also played with Russell on the 1956 United States men's Olympic basketball team, which won the gold medal at the Melbourne Summer Games. During his playing days, he was known as a tenacious defender. Jones spent all of his nine seasons in the National Basketball Association with the Boston Celtics, being part of eight championship teams from 1959 to 1966. In NBA history, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones have won more championship rings during their playing careers. After Boston lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1967 playoffs, Jones ended his playing career.
Jones began his coaching career at Brandeis University, serving as the head coach from 1967-1970. Jones then reunited with former teammate Bill Sharman as the assistant coach for the 1971-72 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers during the season the team won a record 33 straight games. The following season, Jones became the first coach of the San Diego Conquistadors, an American Basketball Association franchise which would have a very short life. A year later, in 1973 he became head coach of the Capital Bullets (which became the Washington Bullets one year later), coaching them for three seasons and leading them to the NBA Finals in 1975. In 1983 he took over as head coach of the Boston Celtics, replacing Bill Fitch. Jones guided the Larry Bird-led Celtics to a championship in 1984 and 1986. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division in all five of Jones's seasons as head coach and reached the NBA Finals in 4 of his 5 years as coach. He briefly coached the Seattle SuperSonics in 1990 and 1991 as well.
Jones returned to the professional coaching ranks in 1997, guiding the New England Blizzard of the fledgling women's American Basketball League (1996-1998) through its last 1 1/2 seasons of existence. The Blizzard made the playoffs in Year 2, but they were summarily dispatched by the San Jose Lasers.
Today, Jones works for the University of Hartford Athletic Office and does the color commentary for the University of Hartford Men's Basketball.
K.C. Jones was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989. Prior to the Doc Rivers-coached Celtics championship of 2008, he was the last African-American head coach to have led a team to the NBA Championship (1986). Ironically, his 1986 Celtics are also the last NBA champion to have a majority of Caucasian players on their roster (and a majority in their starting lineup). Jones is the only African American coach to win multiple NBA championships as solely a head coach. (Bill Russell also won two titles as head coach, but he was also doubling as a player.)
K.C. Jones is his full name.
- Basketball Hall of Fame: K.C. Jones
- BasketballReference.com: K.C. Jones (as coach)
- BasketballReference.com: K.C. Jones (as player)
- NBA.com K.C. Jones Bio
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