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

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Justin Quinn
·2 min read
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On this day in 1978, the Boston Celtics fired then-head coach and former champion forward Tommy Heinsohn.

Heinsohn had began coaching the team after a stint as a broadcaster calling games for local station WKBG, which he had been doing for three seasons after retiring as one of the most decorated players in NBA history in 1965, winning eight titles and a host of other honors. The Holy Cross product was similarly successful as a coach early on, winning the league’s Coach of the Year honors in 1973 and a pair of titles in 1974 and 1976, as well as serving 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrR_z_oj-DE 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. [jwplayer MADdl5ko-z6KDnl0B] [lawrence-related id=45095,45093,45082,45078] [listicle id=45088]