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On this day: Celtics fire Tommy Heinsohn as coach, hire Tom Sanders

On this day in Boston Celtics history, the storied franchise fired then-head coach and former champion forward Tommy Heinsohn.

Heinsohn had begun coaching the team after a stint as a broadcaster calling games for local television station WKBG, which he had been doing for 3 seasons after retiring as one of the most decorated players in all of NBA history in 1965, winning 8 titles and a host of other honors. The Holy Cross product was similarly successful as a head coach for the Celtics early on, winning the league’s Coach of the Year honors in 1973 and a pair of titles in 1974 and 1976.

He would also serve as the head coach of the East in All-Star games between 1972 and 1974, and again in 1976.

The wheels began to fall off in his latter years as coach until a losing record of 32-50 necessitated a changing of the guard at the end of the 1977-78 season.

The Celtics would again go with a familiar face in the role of head coach, hiring former champion forward and then-assistant coach Tom “Satch” Sanders to succeed Heinsohn, a legend in his own right who’d also won eight titles with Boston as a player.

(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Sanders’ tenure did not go that well either, but to be fair he was working with the same aging, run-down roster in need of an overhaul.

And with the arrival of rookie Larry Bird the following season, they got it!

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire