Coming off of a 29-win season in 1979, the Celtics had experienced the two worst seasons in the team’s history. But a promising rookie named Larry Bird was set to arrive, and Red Auerbach knew the franchise was at a critical crossroads. He decided to hire Bill Fitch as the head coach, and as was so often the case, Red made the right call. Fitch’s deep knowledge of the game, toughness, and dry wit made him a perfect fit for Boston and the Celtics. Fitch had already built a reputation as a turnaround artist, and his ability to get the best out of his players paid immediate dividends as Fitch orchestrated what was at the time the best turnaround in NBA history, vaulting to a 61-21 record. An offseason trade brought Robert Parish and rookie Kevin McHale to Boston, and they paired with Bird and Cedric Maxwell to form a dominant frontcourt that Fitch led to the Celtics’ 14th banner in 1981 and established a foundation for the team’s brilliant championship run in the 1980s. His record in four years as head coach of the Celtic was a stellar 242-86, a .738 winning percentage. Fitch was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019. The Celtics family mourns his loss as we celebrate his legacy.
Celtics Statement on the Passing of Bill Fitch
February 3, 202212:50 PM EST