By Luis Petty |Staff Writer|
After being a commentator for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, he eventually went to work for ESPN. Last year Ramsey resigned from ESPN due to growing health concerns brought on by his cancer diagnosis.
Ramsay was born Feb. 21,1925 in Milford, Conn. and he later moved to Philadelphia with his parents.
He graduated from Upper Darby High School where he was inducted to the school’s Hall of Fame in 1979.
After high school, he attended Saint Joseph’s College with his mother’s encouragement.
Ramsay’s time at college was put to a halt when he went into the Navy for three years during World War II where he served as an underwater demolitions expert, and was a forerunner for the Navy Seals.
After the war, he returned to college and was the first in his family to earn a bachelors degree and later obtained his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
After graduating from Saint Joseph’s College, he returned to coach for their basketball team in 1955, where he
first showed his coaching prowess and led the team to six Big 5 crown championships.
After his winning streak at the college level, Ramsay went on to coach professionally in the NBA for 20 years.
Ramsay coached the Philadelphia 76ers, Buffalo Braves, and Indiana Pacers with generally good success, but his most crowning achievement was with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1976.
As head coach for the Trail Blazers, during their first season, Ramsay lead the young team to their first and only NBA championship title.
The Trail Blazers almost won the NBA title a second time during their second season but fell short when their forward Bill Walton broke his foot and ended any hope for the 1976 championship.
After his 20 year coaching career, where he earned some of his greatest accomplishments and honors, and earned the nick name “Doctor Jack” in reference to his doctorate degree, while he became a famous basketball analyst and broadcaster.
Ramsay was diagnosed with Melanoma in 2004, but continued to commentate until 2013.
Eric Reid was Ramsay’s partner commentator and a dear friend. Reid expressed his great admiration for Ramsay in an article by Ira Winderman, a writer for the Sun Sentinel.
“He was so knowledgeable in such a colorful and most importantly, such a warm and personal way… Jack treated everybody the same, with dignity, with humility and with great warmth,” stated Reid.
Ramsay was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 as a testament to his astonishing coaching career and contribution to the NBA.