Former Lakers Head Coach Jack McKinney Passes Away
George Tiedemann-Sports Illustrated

While the Los Angeles Lakers are most often recognized and lauded for a long list of historic NBA players and the late Jerry Buss, the franchise additionally boasts an impressive collection of head coaches.

SHOP NOW: CHECK OUT THE LATEST MERCH 🔥🔥🔥

Championship winners include John Kundla, Bill Sharman, Pat Riley and of course Phil Jackson. There were also less-successful attempts to coach by franchise legends Jerry West and Magic Johnson.

Coincidentally, the two eventually went on to make a mark in the Lakers front office, with Johnson still working on his legacy as an executive. Meanwhile, one coach who tends to get lost in the shuffle is Jack McKinney.

It’s understandable in the sense that McKinney’s opportunity to make a lasting impact with the Lakers — at least directly — was cut short due to tragedy. Sadly, McKinney’s brief tenure is now being remembered under unfortunate circumstances as the former Lakers head coach passed away, via ESPN

Former Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers and Kansas City Kings coach Jack McKinney, whose career was almost derailed by a devastating bicycle injury, has died, St. Joseph’s University confirmed.

The Lakers hired McKinney in 1979 for what was his first opportunity to work as an NBA head coach. He was at the helm for just 14 games before suffering a head injury in a motorcycle accident.

McKinney was replaced on the bench by Paul Westhead, who in turn convinced Pat Riley to leave the broadcast booth where he worked with Chick Hearn in favor of a job as Lakers assistant coach.

Westhead was fired two years later and replaced by Riley. He of course went on to win four championships with the “Showtime Lakers.”

McKinney latched on with the Indiana Pacers prior to the 1980-81 season, and 328-125 over four seasons. He was named Coach of the Year in his first season with the team. McKinney’s time as a head coach ended with the Kansas City Kings when he resigned after a 1-8 start to the 1984 season.

You May Also Like

Lakers Brass Informed Luke Walton About Free Agents They Intend To Pursue

The Los Angeles Lakers have a new head coach after less than a week after parting ways with Byron Scott. Luke Walton impressed the Lakers brass so much so that the team knew their search was over and offered the job to the first-time head coach without interviewing any other candidates for the job…

Lakers Injury Report: LeBron James, Rajon Rondo Ramp Up Level Of Activity But Remain Out Vs. Warriors

Ahead of traveling for their two-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers announced LeBron James was cleared to begin participating in practice as the next step in his…

Lakers News: Luke Walton Irate Over Bucks’ Treatment Of Brandon Ingram In Scuffle

Say what you will about the quality of this season’s Los Angeles Lakers, but they certainly stick up for each other…

NBA News: Kobe Bryant Will Call Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez

The Los Angeles Lakers are just about to start their season, but…