Jerry Krause, Bulls’ GM during 1990s dynasty, dies at 77
CHICAGO — Jerry Krause, the general manager of the Chicago Bulls during a 1990s dynasty that included six NBA championships with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, has died. He was 77.
The Bulls confirmed his death on Tuesday.
A Chicago native, Krause spent 18 seasons leading the Bulls’ front office and was a two-time NBA executive of the year. He helped put together a run that ranks among the most successful in NBA history and made the franchise a worldwide brand.
“The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause,” chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. “Jerry was one of the hardest working guys I have ever been around, and he was one of the best talent evaluators ever. Jerry played an integral role in our run of six championships in eight years. He truly was the architect of all our great teams in the ’90s.”
With Jordan and Pippen soaring around Chicago and Phil Jackson pulling the strings from the sideline, the Bulls dominated in a way few teams have. Krause, who took over as general manager in 1985, was responsible for surrounding Jordan with the pieces that helped create two championship three-peats in the 1990s.
“Jerry was a key figure in the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty of the 1990s and meant so much to the Bulls, the White Sox and the entire city of Chicago,” Jordan, the Charlotte Hornets’ owner, said through his spokesperson.
Krause hired Jackson from the Continental Basketball Association as an assistant to Doug Collins and fired Collins in favor of Jackson following a run to the Eastern Conference finals in 1989. At the time, it was not a popular move. But did it ever pay off in a big way.
The same goes for the 1987 draft-day trade that brought Pippen to Chicago. On top of that, he drafted Horace Grant with the 10th overall selection that year, adding two major pieces to the championship foundation.
A baseball player at Taft High School on Chicago’s Northwest Side, Krause spent more than five decades in professional sports as an executive and scout.
He was responsible for drafting Hall of Famers Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld as a scout for the Baltimore Bullets. He helped select Jerry Sloan, Norm Van Lier, Clifford Ray, Michael Cooper and Norm Nixon as a scout for the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and the Bulls in an earlier stint.
Krause also worked for baseball’s Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, White Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets and, most recently, Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg, who played for the Bulls when Krause was the GM, said: “He was a great person and we just saw him; he came to one of our practices earlier in the year and it was good to be able to spend some time with him.”
Krause is survived by his wife, Thelma; his two children, Stacy and David; and his grandchildren Colette, Josh, Mia and Riley. Memorial information was pending.