Tom Heinsohn Rumors
As a coach, Heinsohn won NBA titles in 1974 and ’76, and finished with a .619 winning percentage in 8½ seasons. “I had fun coaching,” he told the Globe. “I loved management before I coached. I was in the management end of the life insurance business. I managed an agency for four years, managing and training supervisors. And when the opportunity came to coach, I jumped at it because I’d be dealing with more motivated people. Being a coach becomes very political after awhile. That was not my forte.”
Also enshrined Friday were former NBA stars Spencer Haywood, Jo Jo White and Dikembe Mutombo, women’s basketball great Lisa Leslie and referee Dick Bavetta. Tom Heinsohn was inducted as a coach after already being enshrined as a player, joined by former coaches George Raveling and Australia’s Lindsay Gaze, plus ABA star Louis Dampier and early African-American player John Isaacs.
Reports suggest that in 1983, the Rockets targeted him as their No. 1 option to replace Del Harris. For two weeks, Heinsohn discussed the possibility with Houston general manager Ray Patterson before opting not to take the gig. At the time, Heinsohn said the Rockets failed to reach his monetary demands. That might have been part of it, but after a press conference Thursday to honor his second induction to the Hall of Fame, he shared more details of why he soured on the possibility. During a meeting with Houston management, he remembered recommending “a couple of players” he wanted the team to sign. The Rockets bristled at the suggestions, causing Heinsohn to reexamine his thoughts on the job opportunity. “This is not going to work,” he said he realized. “I’ll spend five years here and we’ll be at each other’s throats all the time.”
Also, a source said Boston Celtics legend Tom Heinsohn, who already is in the Hall of Fame as a player, will not be named Monday as a coach. Heinsohn was trying to join John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman as men inducted as both a player and a coach.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today, at NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, an elite list of players and coaches, as the 12 finalists from the North American and Women’s committees to be considered for election in 2013. The recognition of being honored as a Hall of Fame finalist is a career highlight in the sport of basketball. This year’s list includes six first-time finalists: five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell, two-time NBA Championship coach Tom Heinsohn, nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley and six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond. Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are four-time NBA All-Star Maurice Cheeks, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King, five- time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, six-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino and four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian. The Class of 2013 will be unveiled at the NCAA Final Four in April.