‘More than a coach’ to Jordan: Bulls’ assistant passes at 91

Johnny Bach was an assistant with the Bulls from 1988-94.

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A Bulls assistant coach who was the architect of the team’s defense during Michael Jordan’s first three-peat run passed away on Monday at 91.

Johnny Bach was with Chicago in an assistant role from 1988-94, and served alongside both Doug Collins and Phil Jackson.

"He encouraged me, worked with me and really helped me to mold my game," Jordan said Monday, via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. "Without him, I don’t know that we would’ve won our first 3 championships. He was more than a coach to me. He was a great friend. I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing."

After leaving Chicago, Bach coached the next seven seasons for the Hornets, Pistons and Wizards, before serving one final season on the bench back with the Bulls during the 2004 season.

"Johnny was a true treasure in the world of basketball," Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson said in a statement. "He was the classic ‘old school’ coach who came to work each and every day with energy and enthusiasm for the game he loved. His zest for life and basketball were unparalleled. He will be greatly missed by everyone in the Bulls family as well as everyone he connected with during his long tenure in both college and professional basketball."