Ramsay's life celebrated at his funeral - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Ramsay's life celebrated at his funeral

Posted: Updated:

By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) -- Jack Ramsay's trophy case resembled his life -- both were full.

With friends and family simultaneously mourning and celebrating his life, the Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA championship-winning coach was remembered at his funeral Mass on Thursday as someone endlessly devoted to his family, fitness and faith. He died on Monday at the age of 89, after fighting cancer in many forms for the final 15 years of his life.

Chris Ramsay delivered his father's eulogy, calling him "a basketball genius."

"His teams were an extension of himself," Chris Ramsay said. "They were smart and they outworked the opponent. He taught a team game, where sharing and giving was required. His game, when executed properly by the right personnel, was unbeatable. ... His trophy case collapsed under the weight of all the awards."

Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Phil Martelli and former referee Bob Delaney were among those attending from the basketball world, along with former coach Jim O'Brien, Ramsay's son-in-law.

Many broadcasting colleagues of the man best known as "Dr. Jack" were also at the funeral, inside St. John the Evangelist Church in southwest Florida.

"Basketball royalty," McAdoo said.

But the overriding theme of the funeral was not basketball. It was faith.

A devout Catholic, Ramsay would routinely find early morning Mass to attend in cities that his broadcast work took him to before hopping onto a flight to either head back home or call a game in another city. At his family's annual reunion last year, Ramsay rose from his seat at the head of a table and urged his children and grandchildren to take their faith more seriously.

"My dad was special in so many ways," Chris Ramsay said. "He was a multi-faceted man with many interesting sides to his personality and life. He had many names. He was John T. Ramsay, Coach Ramsay, Jack Ramsay, Dr. Jack, Dad and Pop. Each personality added to and complemented the other, each forming and shaping the other into one unbelievable man."

Jack Ramsay's life, by any measure, was complete. His name adorned the marquee at Madison Square Garden, he was considered a founding father of "Big 5" college basketball in Philadelphia, he led a team headlined by Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas and Lionel Hollins to the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA title, he was known for his fashion sense as a coach, he drove powerful sports cars and even picked up surfing and golf along the way.

But those flashy things never overshadowed his simpler side. Ramsay's wife died in 2010 after a long fight with Alzheimer's disease, and long after she stopped even understanding who he was most of the time, Ramsay kept holding her hand, feeding her and trying to ease her fears and confusions in any way he could.

"We're celebrating the life of a child of God and a man of faith," said Fr. John J. Ludden, the church's pastor.

Jack Ramsay was 864-783 in his NBA coaching career, was honored in 1996 as one of the league's top 10 all-time coaches, plus posted a 234-72 record with seven NCAA tournament appearances at Saint Joseph's, his alma mater.

Chris Ramsay, who worked alongside his father at ESPN in recent years, saw firsthand how much respect his father commanded by those in the game.

"You were eager when he called and you paid attention," Chris Ramsay said. "You waited for directions, for inspiration, a pearl of wisdom, a piece of advice. He's not here to call your name out loud any longer, but I guarantee you will do something soon that was inspired by Jack Ramsay. He will move you. He will call your name again, and you will listen."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • BasketballMore>>

  • FIBA: Players can wear religious head coverings

    FIBA: Players can wear religious head coverings

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:23 PM EDT2014-09-16 23:23:04 GMT
    By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer International basketball's governing body says players will be allowed to wear religious head coverings, such as hijabs or turbans, on a trial basis.
    By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer International basketball's governing body said Tuesday that players will be allowed to wear religious head coverings, such as hijabs or turbans, on a trial basis...
  • LeBron banner could rise again in Cleveland

    LeBron banner could rise again in Cleveland

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:23 PM EDT2014-09-16 23:23:02 GMT
    A 10-story tall LeBron James could tower over downtown again.
    A 10-story tall LeBron James could tower over downtown again.
  • Atlanta mayor: Talked to 6 possible Hawks owners

    Atlanta mayor: Talked to 6 possible Hawks owners

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-09-16 23:12:31 GMT
    Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed says he has talked with six potential buyers of the Atlanta Hawks after a racially charged email prompted owner Bruce Levenson to announce he's selling the team.
    Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he has already talked with six potential buyers of the Atlanta Hawks and expects a sale of the team to move quickly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager...
  • College BasketballMore>>

  • Mo'ne Davis 'sad' about UConn NCAA violation

    Mo'ne Davis 'sad' about UConn NCAA violation

    Friday, September 5 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-09-05 17:58:12 GMT
    Little League star Mo'ne Davis says she's "sad" that Connecticut received a secondary NCAA rules violation for coach Geno Auriemma's congratulatory phone call to her during the Little League World Series.
    Little League star Mo'ne Davis says she's "sad" Connecticut received a secondary NCAA rules violation for coach Geno Auriemma's congratulatory phone call to her during the Little League World Series.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police: Ex-boyfriend of missing woman killed himself

    Police: Ex-boyfriend of missing woman killed himself

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:56 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:56:42 GMT
    Roy BlancoRoy Blanco
    MIAMI -- The ex-boyfriend of Tanya Gonzalez, the missing South Florida woman whose body was believed to be discovered in the trunk of her car Tuesday, died after stabbing himself in the abdomen.
    MIAMI -- The ex-boyfriend of Tanya Gonzalez, the missing South Florida woman whose body was believed to be discovered in the trunk of her car Tuesday, died after stabbing himself in the abdomen.
  • Corruption trial begins for former Homestead mayor

    Corruption trial begins for former Homestead mayor

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:38:53 GMT
    MIAMI -- Former Homestead mayor Steven Bateman appeared before a judge for the first full day of his trial Tuesday after being arrested in Aug. 2013 on two felony corruption charges.
    MIAMI -- Former Homestead mayor Steven Bateman appeared before a judge for the first full day of his trial Tuesday after being arrested in Aug. 2013 on two felony corruption charges.
  • Wilton Manors man attacked in hate crime

    Wilton Manors man attacked in hate crime

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:16:01 GMT
    WILTON MANORS, Fla. -- A Wilton Manors man was left physically and emotionally battered after he was followed home and hit with rocks by an attacker who yelled gay slurs Tuesday morning.
    WILTON MANORS, Fla. -- A Wilton Manors man was left physically and emotionally battered after he was followed home and hit with rocks by an attacker who yelled gay slurs Tuesday morning.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.