Red Holzman was a Hall of Fame coach with simple philosophies: Play aggressive defense, move without the ball and hit the open man.
With that kind of thinking, he molded a collection of individual stars into a cohesive unit that helped the New York Knicks win their only two NBA championships.
Holzman, who retired from basketball in 1982, died Friday night, one day after being admitted to Long Island Jewish Hospital. He was 78.
Knick spokesman Chris Weiller said Holzman died after a yearlong struggle with leukemia.
“Red represented the best of our game,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “He was a fan-friendly player and coach but most of all, a gentleman who treated his players with dignity and respect and received their loyalty and love in return.”
His teams won 696 regular-season games in 18 years, including 613 in 14 seasons with the Knicks. In five of Holzman’s years as coach, the Knicks won 50 or more games and had a club-record 60 victories in the 1969-70 season.