Former Bulls assistant coach Tex Winter dies at 96

Basketball: Chicago Bulls assistant coach Tex Winter (L) and assistant coach Jim Rodgers (R) on sidelines bench during game vs Phoenix Suns. Phoenix, AZ 11/20/1997 CREDIT: John W. McDonough (Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: D33557 )

CHICAGO  — He was one of the coaches that developed the Bulls into a dynasty in the 1990s as his offense helped the team to unparalleled success.

That’s how people remember former Bulls assistant coach Fred “Tex” Winter, who died at the age of 96 on Wednesday. The news was confirmed by Kansas State University and the Chicago Bulls.

“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game,” said Bulls executive vice president John Paxson in a statement released by the team. ” He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached every day.

“Those of us who were lucky enough to play for him will always respect his devotion to the game of basketball.  His contributions to the Bulls organization will always be remembered.”

Winter’s career spanned seven decades, starting in 1947 at Kansas State and ended as a consultant with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008.

Many here in Chicago remember him for his run from 1985-1998, where he was instrumental in installing the “Triangle” offense with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and others during a special time for the Bulls organization.

Using the “Triangle,” the team won six NBA Championships, pulling off three-peats from 1991-1993 and then 1996-1998. Following the final championship, he joined Phil Jackson in Los Angeles where he was instrumental in four championship runs by the Lakers.

Before those two stops, Winter served as the head coach of the Houston Rockets from 1971-1973.

A significant part of his career was spent at the college level, including a five-season run at Northwestern from 1973-1978, which followed his stint as a head coach in Houston. His most successful run came at Kansas State from 1953-1968, where he won 261 games, reached the NCAA Tournament six times, and the Final Four twice.

Yet those in Chicago will remember Winter’s contributions to the greatest professional basketball run of success in the city’s history.