How Jones helped lay foundation for Celtics' dynasty at USF

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Before being a part of 11 NBA title-winning teams with the Boston Celtics as a player and coach, K.C. Jones, who died on Friday at the age of 88, got his start at the University of San Francisco.

A native of the city by the Bay, Jones and Bill Russell won two national championships at USF in 1955 and 1956, and the duo also helped deliver a gold medal for the United States in the 1956 Olympic Games.

After a two-year stint serving in the Army, Jones joined the Celtics as a second-round draft pick, again being teamed up with Russell after Boston acquired his draft rights from the St. Louis Hawks.

Jones played nine NBA seasons, winning the championship in eight of those with the Celtics. After retiring from his playing career, Jones became a coach and was part of the Los Angeles Lakers' coaching staff that won the title in 1972.

He returned to Boston first as an assistant before taking over head coaching duties in 1983, adding three more titles to his impressive trophy case.

After a decorated playing and coaching career, Jones was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.

When the Celtics announced Friday that Jones had passed away, Russell shared a touching tribute on social media to his longtime friend following the announcement.

The USF men's basketball program also shared a video honoring Jones, with clips from his Naismith Hall of Fame speech.


Jones is one of Boston's most iconic sports heroes, but the legendary player and coach got his start in the Bay Area.