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Former NBA Coach of the Year winner Gene Shue dies at 90

The 2-time Coach of the Year took Washington and Philadelphia to The Finals in his career.

Gene Shue amassed a 784-681 record as an NBA coach.

Gene Shue, who found success as a player, coach and executive in the NBA, has died. He was 90.

Shue spent 22 years as an NBA coach, played 10 seasons in the NBA and had 19 years of experience as an executive in the league, too. He was a five-time All-Star with Detroit Pistons (1957-62) and led the team to five straight playoff berths. Prior to his success with Detroit, he spent his first two NBA seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks and struggled to find success at either stop.

As a coach, Shue was well-known for his mix of fundamentals and willingness to embrace new wrinkles in the game. When the 3-pointer was officially adopted by the NBA in the 1979-80 season, it was Shue’s Clippers that led the league in 3-point attempts (543), 3-pointers (177) and had the league leader in 3-pointers made (Brian Taylor, 90). Overall, he was 784-681 in the regular season and 33-47 in the playoffs as an NBA coach.

Remembering Gene Shue, a 5-time All-Star as a player and a 2-time NBA Coach of the Year who twice led teams to the NBA Finals.

His willingness to take on challenging situations and turn them around was also a hallmark of his career and one for which he was rewarded. He was NBA coach of the year in 1968-69 after taking the Baltimore Bullets (now Washington Wizards) from a 36-46 season to a 57-25 finish that season. He won it again in 1981-82 with the Bullets when they finished 43-39 after back-to-back 39-43 marks in 1979-80 and ’80-81.

Two years after his playing career ended in 1964, Shue began a 22-season long coaching career. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Bullets, compiling a 291-257 mark which included a run to the 1971 Finals (which Baltimore lost 4-0 to the upstart Milwaukee Bucks). He resigned after the 1972-73 season.

From there, Shue oversaw the start of one of the most successful eras in Philadelphia 76ers history as their coach. Although his debut season in Philadelphia ended with a 25-57 finish in 1973-74, he had the Sixers as a playoff team by 1975-76 behind talented guards Doug Collins and George McGinnis. The 1976-77 season saw Shue guide the Sixers — led by Julius Erving, Collins, McGinnis and others — to their first Finals in 10 seasons. Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead in those Finals, but lost four straight games to the youthful Portland Trail Blazers to lose the series.

Shue was fired six games into the 1977-78 season as the Sixers would go on to make three more Finals over the next six seasons and won the NBA title in 1983. After his stop with the Sixers, Shue coached the San Diego Clippers (now LA Clippers) from 1978-80, going 78-86, before heading back to the Bullets in 1980. In his second stint there, he went 231-248, made the playoffs three times, but only advanced out of the first round once and was fired in March of 1986.

He closed out his coaching career with another stop with the Clippers from 1987-89, amassing a 27-93 mark in 1 1/2 seasons of work before he was fired in January of 1989. After his coaching days were done, Shue served as GM of the 76ers from July, 1990 to May, 1992.