Celtic's Pride This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach came to Boston in 1950, he brought a temper to match his red hair. Auerbach was adept at saying the wrong thing and at alienating the fans and writers. Indeed, before his first basketball season in Boston began, Auerbach angered the Celtics' followers by failing to draft local Bob Cousy from Holy Cross. While Cousy, through some unexpected occurrences, did end up in Boston, at the time Auerbach felt that Cousy was not the best choice for the team. Ignoring public opinion and making decisions solely for the benefit of the team remains Auerbach's philosophy. Who is Red Auerbach? In my own words and, coincidentally, in the words of former Celtic Charlie Scott, "Red is the Celtics." For almost forty years, Red Auerbach has served the Boston Celtics, as coach, as general manager, and as president.

Red Auerbach took over the Celtics in the fifth year of the National Basketball Association's existence. The Celtics, like many NBA teams, were on the verge of bankruptcy; they needed a winning season to stay alive. In one season, Auerbach turned the last-place team into a second-place team. He never had a losing season as coach of the Celtics. Red Auerbach is responsible for the record 11 world championships in 13 years, from 1956 until 1969. (Remember what a big deal it was when the Los Angeles Lakers won two in a row?) The first black player drafted in the NBA, Chuck Cooper, was selected by Red Auerbach, with the approval of the owner. The only players Auerbach would discriminate against were the ones who could not help his team.

During Red Auerbach's reign, the idea of CelticsA pride came into existence.Red Auerbach was a great believer in teamwork: his teams were able to play together and to win more championships than teams like the Philadelphia Warriors whose star, Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a single game. During his 16 years as coach for the Celtics, Auerbach became famous for his victory cigar that he often had opportunity to smoke.

In spite of his incredible success in the NBA, Auerbach had some critics. He did not have a good reputation among referees; he was thrown out of games frequently and somehow always seemed to get the largest fines from Commissioner Maurice Podoloff: over $17,000 worth during his career. As general manager, Auerbach once substituted for an ill coach and was thrown out midway through the game. Auerbach also did not get along with the prying members of the press. Although he was poor at public relations, his incredible ability gained him recognition throughout the sports world.

At 72, Arnold Auerbach still works for the Celtics. He was the one who drafted a young man out of Indiana named Larry Bird.

Now president of the Celtics, Auerbach shows no signs of slowing down. Auerbach manages to keep busy. Although his red hair has turned grey, his temper has mellowed, and today, he is well-respected. He claims he answers all his mail ... anyone want to test him? n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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