Legendary Kansas State men’s basketball coach Fred “Tex” Winter has passed away.
The coach’s passing was announced in a press release distributed by Kansas State Athletics Wednesday night. Winter was 96 years old.
Winter spent more than 60 years coaching college and professional basketball, which included maybe most famously his time spent as an assistant coach to Phil Jackson on 11 NBA Championship teams with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers.
He was a multiple Hall of Fame inductee, including the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City in 2010 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Winter won more than 500 games as a head coach, which included stints at Marquette, Kansas State, Washington, the NBA’s Houston Rockets , Northwestern and Long Beach State. He won a combined 454 games in college, while he went 51-78 with the Rockets.
Winter gained the reputation as one of the sport’s most creative offensive coaches as the innovator of the “Triangle Offense.”
He became the first full-time assistant to Kansas State Men’s Basketball head coach Jack Gardner in 1947. Together, they led the Wildcats to 76 wins and two Final Four appearances from 1947-51.
Winter followed in Gardner’s footsteps and took the role of head coach in 1953. He led the Wildcats to some of its greatest successes. And his 261 wins rank second all-time in Kansas State history behind Jack Hartman. And he is the only person to be affiliated with all four of K-State’s Final Four team.
Winter is survived his wife, Nancy, and sons, Brian, Chris (wife, Kim) and Russ, and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother, Theo, father, Marion, twin sister, Mona Frances, brother, Ernest, and sister, Elizabeth Winter Green.
“Today is a sad day for not only Kansas State University but also the entire basketball world with the passing of Coach Winter. He transformed the game of basketball at all levels and will always remain an integral piece of our rich basketball tradition here at K-State. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Winter family during this time. He will certainly be missed by the entire K-State family,” said Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor.
K-State Men’s Basketball Coach Bruce Weber added, “We are saddened by the passing of such a legendary coach in Fred “Tex” Winter, who touched nearly every level of basketball. Obviously, he is known for his success as an assistant to Phil Jackson with the Bulls and Lakers during their run to 11 NBA titles. However, he left a tremendous mark of achievement at Kansas State, including two Final Fours. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, his children, Brian, Chris and Russ, and grandchildren during this difficult time.”