Former Bullets coach Gene Shue dies at 90

Gene Shue
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Gene Shue, who both played and coached for the Baltimore/Washington Bullets, died on Monday. He was 90.

Shue's death was announced in a statement released by the NBA.

Originally from Towson, Md., Shue starred at the University of Maryland and became the Terrapins' first high-profile NBA prospect. Shue was named first-team All-ACC in 1954 in just the Terps' second year in the conference.

Shue's several-decade NBA career began in 1954 as he was the third overall pick in the draft by the Philadelphia Warriors but was sold to the New York Knicks after just six games. He was traded to the Pistons two years later, where his playing career truly took off.

Shue would play for the Pistons from 1956 to 1962, a span where he was named to the All-Star team five times. Shue was named first-team All-NBA in 1960. Following his stint with the Pistons, Shue would return to the Knicks for one season before concluding his career with the then-Baltimore Bullets.

Shortly after his playing career ended, Shue took over as the Bullets head coach in 1966, inheriting one of the worst teams in the NBA. He was quickly able to turn around the Bullets, though, as the franchise had the league's best record two years later. Shue led the Bullets to three 50-win seasons and an NBA Finals appearance in 1971. He would resign two years later when the franchise moved from Baltimore to Washington, D.C.

Shue would take over as the Philadelphia 76ers coach just days later, inheriting once again another bad team than won just nine games the previous season. Under Shue, the Sixers increased their win total each season, including a 50-win season in 1976-77. He was let go early into the 1977-78 season by the organization.


After leaving Philadelphia, Shue would head across the country and coach the then-San Diego Clippers for a season and a half. Following his firing in 1980, he was hired as the Bullets head coach once again and would spend the next six seasons as Washington's head boss.

Shue left the Bullets as the franchise's all-time leader in wins (522), which still holds today. He guided the franchise to three 50-win seasons, something the Wizards have not been able to accomplish in over four decades. He was inducted into the Maryland Hall of Fame in 1991.