Alfred A. “Al” Bianchi (born March 26, 1932) is a former professional basketball player, coach, general manager, consultant and scout.
Nicknamed “Blinky”, he attended P.S. 4 elementary school, and graduated from Long Island City High School in 1950. A 1954 graduate of Bowling Green State University, he was voted to the “All-Ohio Team” and received honorable mention as a basketball All-American. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp from 1954 to 1956. Starting in 1956, he played for the Syracuse Nationals of the NBA. He moved with the team to Philadelphia when it became the 76ers for the 1963-64 season. He was one of the last proponents in the NBA of the two-handed set shot.
On May 1, 1966, Bianchi was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA expansion draft but never played in a game for them and retired as a player. He then became assistant coach under former teammate Johnny “Red” Kerr, head coach of the Bulls. After a year in Chicago, he was hired as head coach of the expansion team Seattle SuperSonics, compiling a 53-111 record for the new NBA franchise.
He then became coach and general manager of the Washington Caps/Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association from 1969 through 1975. In 1971, he won ABA Coach of the Year honors for guiding the Squires to the ABA’s Eastern Division championship with a record of 55-29 (.655). The Squires then lost to the New York Nets in the Eastern Division finals, and the Indiana Pacers defeated the Nets in the ABA Finals. He finished his coaching career with a 283-392 record.
In 1976, he re-entered the NBA to work for head coach John MacLeod as assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns, from 1976-1987, a tenure highlighted by the Suns’ legendary triple-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA finals, won by the Celtics 4 games to 2.
He then moved to the front office as general manager for the New York Knicks from 1987 to 1991. Returning to Phoenix in 1991, he scouted college players for the Suns. In 2004 he became a consultant-scout for the Golden State Warriors, where he stayed through the 2008-09.
In September 2007, he was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame as a player, by the New York City Athletic Club.
He now resides full-time in Phoenix and does independent consulting and scouting for teams desirous of his experience in both the NBA and college basketball.
He will be inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame at the 11th Annual Ceremony on May 21, 2016 in Columbus.
Career highlights and awards
First-team All-MAC (1954)
ABA Coach of the Year (1971)
Points 5,550 (8.1 ppg)
Rebounds 1,722 (2.5 rpg)
Assists 1,497 (2.2 apg)