Advertisement

On this day: Celtic legend John Havlicek born; coach Dave Cowens axed

On this day in Boston Celtics history, Celtics luminary John Havlicek was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio in 1940. The eight-time champion forward played his college ball at Ohio State, where he would win an NCAA championship in 1960. He was taken by Boston seventh overall in the 1962 NBA draft, for whom he would play 16 seasons.

Besides the banners, Hondo (as he was called) would be elected Finals MVP in 1974, to 13 All-Star Games, 11 All-NBA teams, eight All-Defensive teams, and several other honors over his career. Among the winningest of all Celtics — and especially so beyond the Bill-Russell-led dynasty of the 1960s — Havlicek elevated the importance of the “sixth man” role to new heights.

He retired in 1978 — upon which his jersey number was immediately retired — and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Network.

It was also on this date that legendary Celtics big man Dave Cowens was fired as coach by the team after going just 27-41 in the 1978-79 NBA season.

While one of the more successful Celtics players, it would be nearly 20 years before he got another shot at an NBA head coaching gig.

Unknown date 1970; New York, NY, USA; FILE PHOTO; Boston Celtics center Dave Cowens (18) grabs a rebound over New York Knicks forward Dave DeBusschere (22) at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

That team was the 1996-97 Charlotte Hornets, with whom he registered a 54-28 record, saving face quite a bit after his first go-round.

Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3zBKQY6

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3GfUPFi

YouTube: https://bit.ly/3F9DvjQ

Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire