By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: Aug. 19, 2011

Basketball lost a member of its global family when former Suns assistant coach Scotty Robertson passed away this week. He was 81 years old.

Robertson served as a Suns assistant coach from 1989-95, which was preceded by stints as the head coach of the Jazz, Bulls and Pistons. Before coaching in the NBA, Robertson coached in high school and in college, leading Louisiana Tech to three Gulf States Conference Championships during the 1970s.

“The overwhelming thing about Scotty was his incredible love for the game,” former Suns Head Coach and current Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal said. “He was extremely innovative and never really received the credit that he deserved, despite his tireless work behind the scenes.”

VP of Player Programs Mark West, who played on that Suns team that advanced to the Finals, also remembered Robertson fondly.

“Scotty was a bit of a firebrand,” West said. “He was a really nice guy that was very passionate about basketball and winning. He wasn’t just satisfied with just being ok, he wanted it all and he pushed towards that.”

The mild-mannered West recalled a story where he and Robertson once got into an argument at practice, only to make up and hour later.

“We didn’t take it personally and we were back in the gym the next day trying to make the team better,” West recalled. “He was just as passionate about making me better as he was the day before, which is a quality I always admired about him. I’ve always tried to have his attitude and understanding that we could be on different sides of an argument, but when it’s over, we know we’re going to let it go and that we’re in the same fight together.”

Both Westphal and West also mentioned that former Suns Head Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons and Robertson had an incredibly close relationship. They both recollected how Fitzsimmons and Robertson would entertain others with basketball stories from the past.

The duo was known for going golfing together and for balancing each other out.

“When one was in a certain mood, the other would take the opposite side to provide a balance,” West said. “It was good for the organization because it always made us strive to be better than just good.”

Like any great coach, his effectiveness is measured by whether or not his lessons were passed down to others. If Westphal and West were to be used as a barometer for effectiveness, then Robertson more than exceeded great in his professional career.

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