KC Jones, former men's basketball coach and Boston Celtic, passes away at 88

KC Jones (center) with Tom Haggerty '69 (left) and Steve Katzman '69 (right)
KC Jones (center) with Tom Haggerty '69 (left) and Steve Katzman '69 (right)

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Former Brandeis University men's basketball coach KC Jones, who guided the Judges for three seasons after a Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics, has passed away. He was 88. 

After the end of his nine-year professional career, Jones coached the Judges from 1967 through 1970, compiling a 34-32 record. He took a team that was 4-15 the year prior and led them to an 11-10 mark in 1967-68. They went 12-9 in '68-'69 and 11-13 in '69-'70. Three of Jones's former players (Tom Haggerty '69, Robert Nayer '70 and Mark Eisenstock '72) have been inducted into the Brandeis Athletics Hall of Fame.

"KC was an amazing person who helped out a lot of people when he was at Brandeis," said former player Steve Katzman '69 (pictured above, right). "He had a tremendous impact on all of our players, even though he could be shy sometimes. It was a unique and thrilling experience. I treasure those memories."

"KC was a special guy who went out of his way for everyone," added Brandeis Hall of Famer Tom Haggerty '69. "On the court, he really simplified the game for me, letting me work with people like Bill Russell and Satch Sanders. He brought about a change in the basketball culture at Brandeis. Off the court, I remember him coming to my mother's wake when she passed away just before I graduated. He didn't have to do that."

Jones left Brandeis in 1970 to become an assistant coach at Harvard before returning to the NBA as an assistant. He eventually returned to the Celtics sidelines in the 1980s where he led the team to NBA championships in 1984 and 1986. Jones was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.

In the 1970s, members of the Brandeis media - WBRS radio and The Justice - played a scrimmage at halftime of a basketball game called the KC Jones Cup.

More on KC Jones's life and death from The Boston GlobeThe Boston HeraldESPN.com, and The New York Times

--Jeff Boxer '12 contributed to this article