Former SuperSonics coach Al Bianchi dies at age 87

He coached the team through its first two NBA seasons

Staff and wire reports

NEW YORK — Al Bianchi, the first head coach of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics, has died. He was 87.

The New York Knicks said Bianchi died in Arizona of natural causes. He was the Knicks’ general manager from 1987-91.

Bianchi was named head coach of the SuperSonics prior to their expansion season of 1967-68. He spent two seasons as Seattle’s coach, compiling a 53-111 record.

He then moved to the ABA, where he was the Coach of the Year in 1970-71 with the Virginia Squires. Bianchi also had two stints as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns and one season as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls.

Bianchi was an original member of the Philadelphia 76ers. He started his 10-year NBA playing career with the Syracuse Nationals in 1956-57 and remained with the team following its move to Philadelphia.

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