The NBA and college basketball world lost a longtime coach this weekend. John MacLeod passed away on Sunday following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81 years old.
A longtime NBA and college basketball head coach, MacLeod led the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Oklahoma Sooners, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish during his long career.
He got his big coaching break in 1967 with the Sooners. In six seasons he led the Sooners to two NIT appearances before taking the job with the Phoenix Suns in 1973.
MacLeod went on to become a coaching legend with the Suns, leading them to nine playoff appearances and a trip to the NBA Finals in 1976.
MacLeod’s 579 regular season wins are the most in Suns franchise history, and more than second-place Mike D’Antoni and third-place Cotton Fitzsimmons combined. His 1,122 games coached are also more than D’Antoni, Fitzsimmons, and fourth-place Paul Westphal combined.
The Suns published a statement on MacLeod’s passing over the weekend.
We will miss you, Coach MacLeod.🧡
Our statement on the passing of Ring of Honor member, John MacLeod. pic.twitter.com/jVIRh5yLpr
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 15, 2019
After being fired in 1987, MacLeod was quickly signed by the Dallas Mavericks, who he then led to the Western Conference Finals in his first year at the helm.
He coached the New York Knicks for part of the 1990-91 season, leading them to the playoffs, but was fired at the end of that season.
MacLeod returned to the college coaching ranks in 1991, and went on to lead Notre Dame to two NIT appearances in eight years.
God speed to Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame member John Macleod. The Providence product will be best remembered for coaching Phoenix Suns to 11 playoff appearances, or for guiding Notre Dame from 1991-1999 pic.twitter.com/oF1jTWv2cO
— Jake Query (@jakequery) April 15, 2019
He finished his coaching career as an assistant with the Suns in the 1999-2000 season.
MacLeod was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. MacLeod’s family and loved ones.