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Nissalke coached in both the NBA and ABA.

By Jenna West
August 23, 2019

Former NBA and ABA head coach Tom Nissalke died on Thursday at the age of 87, according to Desert News.

Nissalke died at his Salt Lake City home and had "faced a series of health-related problems" in recent years, reports Desert News.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, he served as an assistant coach with the Bucks. Nissalke helped lead Milwaukee to an NBA championship in 1971 with a roster that featured future Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. After that, he earned his first head coaching job with the Dallas Chaparrals of the ABA, where he was named the league's 1971-72 Coach of the Year.

Nissalke spent five seasons as a head coach in the ABA, including a stint with the Utah Stars in 1974-76. He later worked as an NBA head coach for nine seasons and found a successful run with the Rockets during a three-year stint in Houston from 1976-79. The Rockets reached the playoffs twice under Nissalke and made it to the 1977 Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the 76ers. He received NBA Coach of the Year honors after his strong first season with the franchise.

Nissalke left Houston in 1979 to became the Jazz's first head coach in Utah after the team's move from New Orleans. He retired from coaching in 1995 and went on to work as a sports radio analyst.

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