March 28

March 28, 1966 – Bill Russell Named Head Coach Of The Boston Celtics

Bill Russell became the first African American to coach a NBA team when he was named the head coach of the Boston Celtics on March 28, 1966.  Champion alone does not describe the greatness brought to the game of basketball by Russell as a player, coach and mentor of the sport.  If there is one person who could be classified as an ambassador to the game of basketball, it could be and perhaps is Bill Russell.  He was born on February 12, 1934 in Monroe, Louisiana.

1961 Chicago Packers vs. Boston Celtics

A basketball game in 1961 between the Chicago Packers and the Boston Celtics. From left to rightː Bill Russell, Walt Bellamy, Tommy Heinsohn and Frank Ramsey

He would later go on to play in college for the University of San Francisco where they would behind the play of Russell win two national championships in 1955 and 1956.  His active professional career would be with the Boston Celtics from 1956 until 1969.  Russell would also coach the Celtics from 1966 to 1969.  His coaching career would continue with the Seattle SuperSonics and the Sacramento Kings.  Russell is only one of a few basketball players that won a college national championship, gold medal in the Olympics and NBA championship.

Bill Russell in the Green Room

Bill Russell waiting in the Green Room of the White House. He is about to receive the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.