Basketball coach Cotton Fitzsimmons died over the weekend in Mesa, Arizona as a result of lung cancer at the age of 72. Fitzsimmons gained most of his notoriety as an NBA coach, but he began his life and career in Missouri. He played his high school basketball at Bowling Green High School and averaged 25 points per game at Hannibal-LaGrange College from 1951-1953. His success as a coach began at Moberly Area Junior College, where he won back-to-back national championships in 1966 and 1967. He went on to coach in the NBA, where he won 832 games in 21 seasons. He had three stints with the Phoenix Suns. From 1979-1984 Fitzsimmons coached the Kansas City Kings and led them to the 1979 Midwest Division title. His efforts that season earned him the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award.
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