On May 11, 1973, NBA legend Bill Russell (1934-2022) is hired to coach the Seattle SuperSonics after the team suffers through a dismal 26-56 season in 1972-1973. Russell's coaching experience includes three seasons as player-coach of the Boston Celtics, who won two championships with him at the helm. (Boston won a total of 11 trophies with Russell on the roster. He was arguably the greatest center in NBA history.)
In Russell's second season (1974-1975) as head coach, the SuperSonics reached the playoffs for the first time in team history. In the first round, Seattle disposed of the Detroit Pistons, but fell to the Golden State Warriors, four games to two, in the conference semifinals. Russell led the team to the postseason again in 1975-1976, but was fired after the 1976-1977 season in which the team failed to reach the playoffs with a 41-41 record.
(www.supersonics.com); Seattle SuperSonics 1999-2000 Media Guide ed. by Marc Moquin (Seattle: Full House Sports & Entertainment, 1999); The Sporting News Official NBA Register, 1998-99 edition, ed. by Mark Bonavita, Mark Broussard, and Brendan Roberts (St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1998); The Sporting News Official NBA Guide, 1998-99 edition, ed. by Mark Broussard and Craig Carter (St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1998).
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