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Friday, November 2, 2012
Yearbook, Nov. 2: Red Auerbach's debut

By Patrick Dorsey

Nov. 2, 1946: On this day 66 years ago, Arnold "Red" Auerbach made his coaching debut in a league that would later help form the NBA (the Basketball Association of America), guiding his Washington Capitols to a 50-33 win over the host Detroit Falcons.

Surprise: Winning became a theme for Auerbach; he led the Caps to a 49-11 record that season, and posted only one losing campaign as coach (in his fourth year, with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks).

Playoff success took longer, but -- surprise again -- he attained it six years after joining the Boston Celtics in 1950-51, eventually winning nine NBA titles (and eight in a row) before retiring to the front office, where he helped guide Boston to seven more championships.

Red Auerbach coaching the Boston Celtics
Auerbach, after joining the Celtics.
Auerbach, as GM, hugging Bill Russell and John Havlicek after winning the 1967-68 title.
Auerbach, as GM, hugging player-coach Bill Russell and John Havlicek after winning the 1967-68 title.
Auerbach, still Celtics GM, after winning the 1980-81 title.
Auerbach, still Celtics GM, after winning the 1980-81 title.
Red Auerbach with the Celtics
Auerbach, posing for a1996 portrait in front of the franchise's many banners.