The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the hallmark organizations in the NBA. The franchise has won three NBA titles and been home to some of the greatest players in league history. In fact, one could say that Sixers fans have been spoiled with Hall of Fame players.
The NBA is a players’ league, so the superstars rightfully get the most credit when a team succeeds. However, having a strong, insightful coach is important in the league since talent can only take you so far once the playoffs start.
For this piece, we ranked the top four head coaches in Sixers franchise history, starting off with a guy who wasn’t able to win a championship but racked up the fourth-most wins as head coach.
4. Larry Brown
Brown coached the Sixers for six seasons. The team made the playoffs five times and went to the Finals once, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games despite superstar Allen Iverson doing all he could to will Philly to victory.
Brown won the 2000-01 Coach of the Year Award.
The Sixers secured 255 victories in the regular-season with Brown leading the charge. The now-retired tactician is third in franchise history for playoffs wins with 28. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach in 2002.
3. Alex Hannum
Under Hannum’s leadership, the Sixers won 257 games in the regular season and 26 in the playoffs. He ranks third in franchise history in regular-season wins and fourth in postseason victories.
The Sixers won the 1967 NBA championship under Hannum, defeating the San Francisco Warriors in six games to capture the title.
Hannum, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 as a coach, passed away in 2002.
2. Al Cervi
Cervi coached the Sixers for eight years. He won 294 games and is second in franchise history in that category.
The Sixers captured the 1955 championship with Cervi, although the team was called the Syracuse Nationals at the time. Cervi won 33 games as head coach in the postseason, giving him the second-most playoff wins in franchise history.
The Hall of Fame inducted Cervi as a head coach in 1985. He passed away in 2009 at the age of 92.
1. Billy Cunningham
Four hundred fifty-four: that’s how many games the Sixers won with Cunningham leading the way.
Billy has the most wins in franchise history by a wide margin both in the regular season and playoffs. The Sixers won 66 games in the postseason under his tutelage.
In 1983, the Sixers swept the Los Angeles Lakers to win the title. Philly won 65 games that season and was led by Moses Malone, who won Finals MVP after averaging 25.8 points, 18.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists against the Lakers.
Cunningham spent his entire coaching career in Philadelphia. He resigned in 1985, finishing with a regular-season record of 454-196 and a playoff mark of 66-39.
Who’s Next For Philly?
The 2019-20 Sixers, coached by Brett Brown, were in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings before the season was suspended due to COVID-19. The team has lost in the second round of the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
Some in Philadelphia believe Brown is on the hot seat.
Brett is kind of like Larry. Both of their last names are Brown and both guys are polarizing figures in Philadelphia. Only time will tell if Brett can join this Sixers coaching list one day.
For that to happen, he first has to guide the team to at least one Finals berth like Larry did in 2001.