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Phil Jackson is coming home

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Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:14 am

August just became a lot more Zen-like around Williston.

NBA coaching legend Phil Jackson was announced Tuesday as the guest speaker of the Babe Ruth World Series Banquet on Friday, Aug. 16, in the Williston State College gym.

The 13-time NBA champion graduated from Williston High School in 1963, leading the Coyotes to a state championship before moving on to the University of North Dakota.

Jackson was involved with the Babe Ruth Baseball extensively, coaching in the Williston program throughout college. He was also part of two Babe Ruth championship teams in the program’s early years.

Due to limited seating, no banquet tickets will be available to the general public because of tickets required for tournament officials, sponsors, teams, host families and immediate families attending the series.

The World Series Committee said it will make a limited number of general admission seats available to the upper level of the gym to hear Jackson’s speech.

For more information on the Babe Ruth World Series, call the Williston Parks and Recreation District at 701-577-5141.

About Phil Jackson

Jackson was born in Deer Lodge, Mont. and attended high school in Williston playing basketball, football and baseball.

The school’s sports complex now bears his name.

After high school, Jackson was recruited to UND by Bill Fitch, where he played baseball and basketball, starring on both teams.

In 1967, he was drafted in the second round (17th overall) by the New York Knicks and played 12 seasons in the NBA. He helped the Knicks to an NBA championship in 1973 and earned a ring in the 1969-70 season, but didn’t play due to injury.

He’s one of just nine players to win a title as both a coach (11) and player (2).

He was hired as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls in 1987 and promoted to head coach in 1989, leading the Bulls and Michael Jordan to six NBA Championships and an NBA-best record of 72-10 in 1995-96.

In the 1997-98 season, he returned to coach the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA championships, including the third three-peat of his career in 2000-02.

In 20 seasons as an NBA coach, he compiled a 1,155-485 (.704) record, the best winning percentage among NBA coaches.

He has also been named one of the 10 greatest NBA coaches of all time.

Jackson is the father of five children and resides in Playa del Rey, Calif., near Los Angeles and spends his summers in Montana.

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