The Boston Celtics released a statement Wednesday announcing the death of former player and head coach Chris Ford. His family confirmed the news in a statement.
“The Ford family is sad to announce the passing of Chris on Jan. 17, 2023,” the statement read. “Chris was beloved by his family, friends, and teammates. He had a great love for his family, the city of Boston, the fans, and the entire Celtics family. He always showed humility and respect for all those that were fortunate enough to be a part of his life.”
The team added: “The Boston Celtics sends their deepest sympathies to the Ford family and their many friends.”
Ford was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 1972 NBA Draft. The Villanova alum was traded to the Celtics in 1978 along with a 1981 second-round pick for Earl Tatum.
In his first season with the Celtics, Ford was voted team MVP and averaged a career-high 15.6 points per game. He made the NBA’s first counted 3-pointer in 1979. Ford played a key part in the 1981 NBA championship team, and he retired after 10 years in the league after the 1981-82 season.
Ford became an assistant under head coach K.C. Jones and later Jimmy Rodgers and won two more NBA titles in 1984 and 1986. He joined Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn and Jones as the only group to win an NBA title as a player and a coach.
He was promoted in 1990 and coached the Celtics for five seasons, leading Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish on their final playoff runs in Boston. Ford was named head coach of the NBA All-Star Game in 1991.
In five seasons as Celtics head coach, Ford went 222-188, and as a player, he remains in the top 100 of all-time in steals per game.
Ford was 74 years old.