PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The winningest coach in Phoenix Suns history has died, the team said on Sunday.
The franchise said in a statement it was saddened to learn about the death of John MacLeod.
He was the head coach from 1973 to 1987, including leading the "Sundarella Suns" to the NBA Finals 1976, the franchise's first trip to the championship series.
"His passion for the game was matched only by his endearing personality, humility and class, a man who was loved by everyone that had the pleasure of interacting with him," the Suns said in a statement.
MacLeod has the most career wins (579) and playoff wins (37) in franchise history as the head coach. He led the Suns to nine playoff berths and three Western Conference Finals, plus the trip to the NBA Finals where the Suns lost to the Boston Celtics.
He was placed in the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor in 2012.
MacLeod was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Full statement from the team is below.
“We are saddened today to learn of the passing of Suns Ring of Honor member and all-time winningest head coach, John MacLeod. A brilliant tactician on the sidelines, Coach MacLeod engineered the first great era of Phoenix Suns basketball, including as the catalyst of the 1975-76 “Sundarella Suns” and their memorable run to the NBA Finals. His passion for the game was matched only by his endearing personality, humility and class, a man who was loved by everyone that had the pleasure of interacting with him. Coach MacLeod was a winner in every sense and will be dearly missed by our entire Phoenix Suns family. Our thoughts are with his lovely wife Carol, daughter Kathleen and son Matt, during this difficult time.”
MacLeod compiled a franchise-record 579 career wins as head coach of the Suns, in addition to a franchise-record 37 playoff victories. The longest tenured coach in team history (1973-1987), MacLeod led the Suns for 13-plus seasons that included nine playoff berths, three Western Conference Finals appearances (1976, 1979, 1984) and a trip to the 1976 NBA Finals, the first in team history. On April 18, 2012, MacLeod was placed in the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor."