Yearbook, Nov. 21: Bill Fitch loses 1,000th

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
10:58
AM ET
Nov. 21, 1996: On this day 16 years ago, Bill Fitch gained a dubious distinction -- when the Los Angeles Clippers lost 105-94 to the Dallas Mavericks, he became the first coach in NBA history to lose 1,000 games.

That's not to mock Mr. Fitch -- it takes a lot to be able to coach 1,000 games, let alone lose that many. In truth, Fitch -- who retired after the following season -- finished his career with 944 wins, two NBA Coach of the Year awards, a trip to the NBA Finals in 1986 with the Houston Rockets ... and an NBA championship in 1981, during his four-year stint with the Boston Celtics.

Bill Fitch  with the Boston CelticsDick Raphael/NBAE/Getty ImagesFitch, left, receiving his 1981 NBA Championship ring from Larry O'Brien.
Ralph Sampson and Bill Fitch with the Houston RocketsBrian Drake/NBAE/Getty ImagesFitch, with center Ralph Sampson in 1985 while with the Houston Rockets.
Bill Fitch with the Los Angeles ClippersAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillFitch, in 1998 with the Clippers.
Patrick Dorsey is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor for ESPN.com. He has worked for the Web and newspapers. He also played in one Division-III golf tournament (he shot 105).

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