Former Bulls assistant Johnny Bach passes away at 91


Former Bulls assistant Johnny Bach passed away Monday. He was 91.

Bach was a defensive-minded assistant under Phil Jackson during the Bulls' first three-peat after joining the team in 1986. He returned to the Bulls in 2003 after stops in Charlotte, Detroit and Washington. He retired in 2006.

Bach spent 18 seasons at Fordham University from 1950 to 1968, compiling a 265-193 record and leading the Rams to a pair of NCAA Tournaments and five NIT berths. He then spent nine seasons at Penn State, compiling five winning seasons with the Nittany Lions.

Before joining the Bulls' staff he coached the Golden State Warriors, on an interim basis in 1980 and later in a full-time capacity from 1983 to 1986.

Bach also was an assistant on the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team, which advanced to the gold-medal game against Russia.

"Johnny was a true treasure in the world of basketball. He was the classic 'old school' coach who came to work each and every day with energy and enthusiasm for the game he loved," said vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, who played under Bach. "His zest for life and basketball were unparalleled. He will be greatly missed by everyone in the Bulls family as well as everyone he connected with during his long tenure in both college and professional basketball."

Bach served as a naval deck officer in World War II before beginning his career in coaching.

Scottie Pippen tweeted out condolences Monday afternoon: 

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