|Born||July 13, 1935|
|Died||September 25, 2018 (aged 83)|
Bonita Springs, Florida
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|High school||St. James (Chester, Pennsylvania)|
|College||Saint Joseph's (1954-1957)|
|1959-1960||St. James HS|
|1960-1965||Saint Joseph's (assistant)|
|1974-1976||Milwaukee Bucks (assistant)|
|1976-1979||Portland Trail Blazers (assistant)|
|1979||Los Angeles Lakers|
|1984||Kansas City Kings|
|Career highlights and awards|
John Paul McKinney (July 13, 1935 - September 25, 2018) was an American college and professional basketball coach. As a head coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Los Angeles Lakers, he introduced an up-tempo style of play that became known as Showtime. However, his only season with the Lakers ended prematurely after a bicycle accident. McKinney joined the Indiana Pacers, where he was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1981. He also coached the Kansas City Kings (now known as the Sacramento Kings). In addition, he served as an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Portland Trail Blazers.
McKinney was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, to Paul McKinney, a police detective, and Jen McMahon, a homemaker. He attended St. James High in Chester, where he played basketball under coach Jack Ramsay. He graduated in 1953.
McKinney went to college at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. He played three seasons for the Hawks, who were also coached by Ramsey, and led the team to the Big 5's inaugural title and the school's first ever postseason in the 1956 National Invitation Tournament (NIT). He was also a member of their track and field team.
McKinney coached one season at St. James in 1959-60, leading them to a 17-11 record. After five years at his alma mater St. Joseph's as an assistant under Ramsay, McKinney was the head coach at Philadelphia Textile for one season in 1965-66. He returned to St. Joe's in 1966, replacing the departed Ramsay as head coach. McKinney is a member of the Saint Joseph's and the Big 5 Halls of Fame. He was also named the Eastern Coach of the Year by Philadelphia sportswriters for his 1973-74 season when the Hawks, predicted to have a poor year after graduating Mike Bantom to the NBA and Pat McFarland to the American Basketball Association (ABA), had a stellar season again winning their conference and qualifying for postseason play. However, he was fired after a first-round loss in the 1974 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, and his dismissal prompted a demonstration by over 500 students.
McKinney was an NBA assistant coach with Milwaukee and Portland, and won an NBA championship with the Trail Blazers under Ramsay in 1976-77. He received his first NBA head coaching job in 1979-80 with the Lakers. Owner Jerry Buss, who had recently acquired the team, wanted games to be entertaining, and hired the coach to install a running offense. McKinney had 6-foot-9-inch (2.06 m) rookie Magic Johnson, who some thought should play forward, be a point guard, even though incumbent Norm Nixon was already one of the best in the league. On November 8, 1979, the Lakers were 9-4 after 13 games, when McKinney suffered a near fatal head injury after falling while bicycling. Assistant coach Paul Westhead, who also worked under McKinney at St. Joseph's, was named the interim head coach. However, the length of the recovery and lingering doubts about the complete return of McKinney's mental faculties, combined with the team's level of success under Westhead, ultimately meant that McKinney would never get the chance to return to the job. Westhead continued to use McKinney's offense, a creative and spontaneous offense that came to be known as Showtime, and the team finished the season with a record of 60-22. The Lakers advanced to that year's NBA Finals, when McKinney was fired mid-series on May 13, 1980. The Lakers won the series for their first of five NBA titles in nine seasons, and hired Westhead to permanently replace McKinney.
Pat Riley, who replaced Westhead as Lakers coach, won four titles with the team and became the coach most synonymous with the Showtime Lakers. However, Norm Nixon credited McKinney with creating Showtime. "That should never be forgotten", said Nixon. According to Riley, McKinney "might have won five or six titles for the Lakers in the '80s" were it not for his accident. McKinney was deferential. "I just put in some ideas that were accepted, and the rest was up to Paul and Pat and some great players", he said.
McKinney joined Indiana the following season in 1980-81. He was hired at the insistence of a guilt-ridden Buss, who was business partners with Pacers owner Frank Mariani. In his first season, McKinney was named the NBA Coach of the Year after leading the Pacers to their first playoff appearance since the former American Basketball Association (ABA) team joined the NBA during the ABA-NBA merger of 1976. Over the next three seasons, however, the team's performance regressed, and McKinney was fired after the Pacers posted the league's worst record in the 1983-84 season. He was soon hired as the head coach the Kansas City Kings, but resigned from the position on November 18, 1984 after the team started with a 1-8 record in the 1984-85 season.
In 2005, McKinney co-authored a book about his experiences at Saint Joseph's, and donated 10 percent of its proceeds to the school.
Jack graduated from St. James High School in 1953 and had played under Ramsey.