Johnny Bach Rumors
Which is why Fordham U. in New York City, where Bach after graduating became one of the youngest head coaches in NCAA history, Monday presents the annual John Bach award. This year’s recipient, posthumously, is longtime New York broadcaster John Andariese, who played at Bronx’ Fordham under Bach. “John received the media award from the Naismith Hall of Fame a few years ago,” said NBA broadcaster Marv Albert, a longtime partner with Andariese on Knicks broadcasts who will speak at the Monday ceremonies. “This would have been such a huge night for John because of what Johnny Bach and Fordham meant to him. He and Johnny were close for years and John stayed active with Fordham. It would have had a great deal of meaning.”
Coaches like Bach, unfortunately, are becoming rare in the NBA, the knowledgeable veteran who not only guides the young coaches with experience and a comforting assurance, but who is a father-figure buffer who can help offer life’s lessons to the kids who have gotten so few, especially today with limited time in college. “Johnny talked about it lot,” said Bach’s widow, Mary Sweeney-Bach. “He was very proud of being the product of a Jesuit education because he believed in the importance of intellectual honesty and every other type of honesty, being spiritually honest, intellectually honest. He believed in the importance of education. That’s part of what made him the kind of coach he was. It wasn’t just rah rah, go get ‘em. He was so much into teaching the basics, the fundamentals, the values; it was the basics of life as well as the basics of basketball.”
Krause, who died March 21, will be enshrined posthumously Friday in the Class of 2017, which includes Tracy McGrady, George McGinnis, Bill Self, Muffet McGraw and Rebecca Lobo. Krause’s legacy, in addition to six championships with the Bulls in the 1990s, was the hiring of coaches who went on to legendary careers, including Jackson, Doug Collins and Tex Winter. Krause renewed Winter’s stalled college coaching career and Winter went on to be honored by the Hall of Fame for his influence with the triple post offense. Collins went on to be a premier NBA coach and honored by the Hall of Fame’s media wing. The Bulls under Krause had arguably the most accomplished coaching staff in NBA history with Jackson, Winter and Johnny Bach, the latter an NBA player, head coach, assistant, college coach and defensive guru.
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.”