Johnny Bach Rumors
Former Bulls Craig Hodges, John Paxson , Horace Grant , Steve Kerr , Bill Wennington , Pete Myers and Stacey King attended. Kerr came with his current Warriors assistant and former Bulls assistant Ron Adams, missing their shootaround to do so. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg attended with his entire staff after his team’s shootaround. That included Mike Wilhelm, who quietly drove Bach to and from Bulls training camp practices last October in a consultant role that Bach cherished. “Brilliant mind,” Myers said. “He left an imprint.”
KC Johnson: Michael Jordan on Johnny Bach: “He encouraged me, worked with me and really helped me to mold my game. Without him, I don’t know that we would’ve won our first 3 championships. He was more than a coach to me. He was a great friend. I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing.”
Johnny Bach, a prominent coaching figure in Chicago Bulls history, passed away today at age 91. A 56-year coaching veteran, Bach joined the Bulls as an assistant in 1986, and his highly effective “Doberman” style defense played a pivotal role in the Bulls’ three championship titles from 1991 to 1993. The following is a statement from John Paxson, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations: “Johnny was a true treasure in the world of basketball. He was the classic ‘old school’ coach who came to work each and every day with energy and enthusiasm for the game he loved. His zest for life and basketball were unparalleled. He will be greatly missed by everyone in the Bulls family as well as everyone he connected with during his long tenure in both college and professional basketball.”
Johnny Bach, the defensive-minded assistant coach under Phil Jackson during the Bulls’ first three-peat, died Monday. He was 91. The coaching veteran of 56 years had a successful career on the collegiate and NBA levels.
As a coach in both college and the NBA, as someone who drew a paycheck from the Boston Celtics before Red Auerbach ever did, as a lifelong teacher and role model for players across eight decades, Bach has checked most of the boxes and drawn a few more at the bottom of any eligibility sheet for the hoops Hall. Donald “Taps” Gallagher was hoping that he and Bach would be there too, as the happy outcome of Gallagher’s nomination of the veteran coach last year. Gallagher — an attorney in the Chicago area and a co-author of the book “Stolen Glory: The U.S., the Soviet Union and the Olympic Basketball Game That Never Ended” — got to know Bach while doing research for the story of the 1972 U.S. men’s team that got thwarted in their quest of gold medals in Munich that summer. Bach was an assistant on coach Hank Iba’s staff, alongside Don Haskins. “He’s been a head coach in college [Fordham 1949-1968, Penn State 1969-1978], a head coach in the NBA [Golden State, 1979-1980, 1983-1986],” said Gallagher. “He played in the league, he was an assistant when the Bulls won their first three championships. He deserves the credit for their ‘Doberman defense.’ He’s the one who really architected zone defense in basketball — there are not many people who could say they were on the same page as him with zone defense. “If the HOF is based on your contributions to basketball, he’s contributed his whole life to basketball. How did Tex Winter get in?”