NEW YORK – Jack McKinney, who coached the Indiana Pacers for four seasons in the 1980s, died Tuesday at 83 years old, Saint Joseph’s University announced.
McKinney coached Saint Joseph’s from 1966-74 before joining the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach. After two seasons in Milwaukee, he spent three more with the Portland Trail Blazers from 1976-79 before being named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979.
During that season, McKinney suffered serious head injuries in a bicycle accident, which limited him to just 14 games. Paul Westhead replaced him, leading the Lakers to an NBA title.
As a result of his accident, McKinney was left in a coma for three days. The incident left him with neurological issues for the rest of his life.
McKinney returned to join the Pacers in 1980, and he led Indiana to a 44-38 record and the playoffs in his first season at the helm, winning NBA Coach of the Year in the process. The Pacers went winless in the playoffs, and McKinney failed to make it back in his next three seasons with the team.
McKinney coached the Kansas City Kings in 1984-85, resigning after a 1-8 start. For his career, he was 136-215 across six NBA seasons.
McKinney was inducted into the Saint Joseph’s basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.