By Lewis Gould
Bob Ferry, who guided the Washington Bullets to their only title in 1978 as general manager, has died at age 84.
Ferry ran the Bullets from 1973 to 1990, and the team made the playoffs 13 times in that 17-year span, including three Finals appearances. The Wizards’ franchise has made the playoffs only 10 times in the 31 seasons since Ferry left that post and has not reached the Finals.
Ferry is one of four GMs in league history with 700 wins, 13 playoff appearances, a championship and two Executive of the Year awards, which Ferry won in 1979 and 1982. The others are RC Buford, Jerry West and Jerry Krause.
“Bob and his family are dear to my parents, the Unseld family, to the Wizards organization, and we just want to wish him and his family the best, and keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said yesterday. “I know how difficult this time is. I just want to let them know we’re thinking about them, we care for them and we’ll be there for them.”
Ferry was the second general manager, after the Boston Celtics’ Red Auerbach, who hired two Black head coaches: K.C. Jones in 1973 and Wes Unseld Sr. in 1988. After he left the Bullets, he was a scout for several NBA teams over the next 25 years.
Ferry was a 6-8 All-American at Saint Louis University and the seventh overall pick in the 1959 draft. He played 10 seasons in the NBA with the St. Louis Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Baltimore Bullets, averaging 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 634 career games.
His son Danny was a star at Duke, where he was national player of the year and won a national title. He went on play 13 NBA seasons and won titles as a player and as an executive with the San Antonio Spurs. He later was the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.