By Veronica An
In 1966, Bill Russell became the first black head coach when the Boston Celtics made him player-coach. Previous to his appointment as head coach, Russell played for the Celtics and was known for his skill as a defensive player and was also a member of the 1956 U.S. Olympic basketball team, which won a gold medal at the Melbourne Games in November. Russell led the Celtics to 12 NBA finals, winning 11 of them, and was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times. Under his direction as coach, the Celtics held a 60-21 regular-season record and advanced to the NBA Finals. In between his time as coach, Russell became a sports color commentator, often paired with Rick Barry on televised basketball games. In 1970, he was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary All-Time Team and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame four years later.