HoopsHype Bill Fitch rumors
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Doug Smith: Bill Fitch wins Chuck Daly Award for lifetime achievement from National Basketball Coaches Association; Fitch had 944 wins in 25-yr career Twitter @SmithRaps
Bill Fitch, who won one NBA championship and took another team to the NBA Finals,was not selected for entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in his first try as a finalist. Fitch led the Boston Celtics to the NBA championship in 1981 when they beat the Houston Rockets in the finals. Five years later he led the Rockets to the NBA Finals before losing to the Celtics. "There's no bitterness at all," Fitch said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "Somebody must have thought something of me or I wouldn't have made it this far." FOX 26 Sports
Early in a phone conversation with Bill Fitch, the former Cavs coach said, "You know, Joni died." He meant JoAnne Nelson-Fitch, his wife. She died of ovarian cancer at age 65. "It was exactly a month ago," he said. "I'm sitting here talking to you with the dogs at my feet." That's an Australian shepherd named Sugar Bear and a poodle named Boomerang. "We got them about five years ago, right after Joni got cancer," Fitch said. "When we'd come from the hospital, those dogs would run right past me to Joni. They knew she was the best." Cleveland Plain Dealer
A few months later, he saw her at a restaurant. They went out a few times and became a couple. Fitch said it was a year after he was divorced. "Joni got along with everyone," Fitch said. "All three of my daughters love her. My ex-wife got along great with her. She wasn't thrilled with me, but she really liked Joni." Cleveland Plain Dealer
Fitch said that in an admiring tone for these women around him who had dueled cancer and refused to back down. "One of the last conversations I had [with Joni] was where to find everything in the house," he said. "She took care of everything at home. I'm now running around with death certificates and other things to get all the paperwork done . . I'm telling you, if you ever get a choice, go [die] first. It is rough being alone." Cleveland Plain Dealer
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