Former Long Beach State head basketball coach Fredrick “Tex” Winter died at the age of 96 Wednesday in Manhattan, KS. Winter served as the head coach of the men’s basketball team from the 1978-79 season to the 1984-1985 season. He led the team to a 78-69 record and a spot in the postseason NIT in his time at the school.
“[Tex] came back for a game about five or six years ago and he spoke to the team,” said Dan Monson, men’s basketball head coach. “It was really great to have him in the locker room and just be a part of Long Beach State basketball again. It had been a long time since he’d been back at that point.”
Monson also said it was a fun experience for him and the team, who all recognized Winter for his accomplishments in the NBA.
“Tex said this was one of his favorite places he ever coached at and I said, “Me too,’” Monson said.
While Winter may not have won big at LBSU, his legacy is cemented as one of the greatest basketball minds to ever live.
“He’s in the long line of coaches that not only were great here at Long Beach State, but went on to do great things,” Monson said. “What he did with the Chicago Bulls and revolutionizing the NBA was special.”
His implementation of the triangle offense led to nine NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant coach. Winter’s first experience with the NBA came in 1971 when he was hired as the head coach of the Houston Rockets.
In 2011, Winter was elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, his eighth time on the final ballot.
Winter was born near Wellington, Texas in 1922, and moved to Huntington Park, California in 1936. He attended Huntington Park High School, Compton Community College and Oregon State University. At both colleges he was on the basketball and track teams, and earned a scholarship to Oregon State for pole vaulting. After a brief stint in the United States Navy, Winter attended the University of Southern California, where he learned the triangle offense from his coach Sam Barry.
Winter suffered a stroke in 2009 while attending a Kansas State basketball reunion, which led to an uncooperative right side and nerve pain in his neck and shoulder.
The former 49er will always be remembered as a strategic and a respected head coach at LBSU.