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K. C. Jones (born May 25, 1932) is a retired American professional basketball player and coach (K. C. Jones is his full name). He is best known for his association with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA), with which he won 11 NBA Championships (eight as a player, one as an assistant coach, and two as a head coach).
Jones 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 United States team which won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.
During his playing days, he was known as a tenacious defender. Jones spent all of his nine seasons in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, being part of eight championship teams from 1959 to 1966. Jones (along with Russell and five others) are the only players in history to achieve basketball's "Triple Crown" - winning an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and an Olympic Gold Medal.
In NBA history, only teammates Bill Russell (11 championships) and Sam Jones (10 championships) 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.
Hall of Fame legacy
K.C. Jones was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
Jones began his coaching career at Brandeis University, serving as the head coach from 1967 to 1970. Jones served as an assistant coach at Harvard University from 1970 to 1971. 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 the championship in 1984 and 1986. Also in 1986, Jones led the Eastern squad in the 1986 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas at the Reunion Arena, beating the Western squad 139-132. 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.
In 1994, Jones joined the Detroit Pistons as an assistant coach for one season. The Pistons head coach at that time, Don Chaney, had previously played for Jones with the Celtics.
In 1996, Jones returned to the Boston Celtics, this time as an assistant coach for one season.
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 1½ seasons of existence. The Blizzard made the playoffs in Year 2, but they were summarily dispatched by the San Jose Lasers.
Life after the NBA
Today, Jones works for the University of Hartford Athletic Office and does the color commentary for the University of Hartford Men's Basketball.
Head coaching record
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Awards and honors