Portland and life on the West Coast are new adventures for John Nash.
The Trail Blazers' second-year general manager is a Philadelphia native who has made his home on the East Coast his entire life.
'Beyond my expectations, I enjoy living in the Northwest,' Nash says. 'Portland is a treasure I wasn't aware of. As a visitor, I knew it only as a city that was overcast and dreary, located somewhere between L.A. and Seattle. Living here has been a pleasant experience. I love the people. I love the passion of the fans.'
Nash attended St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. During his time there, the Hawks' head coaches were Jack Ramsay and Jack McKinney. Among the assistants Ñ Jimmy Lynam and Paul Westhead.
Nash didn't expect to make a living in the NBA.
'My intent was to teach high school and coach,' he says.
While teaching and coaching in middle school, Nash had part-time jobs with Philadelphia's NBA franchise, the 76ers, and its NFL team, the Eagles, as well as in the ticketing department at the Spectrum, the former home of the 76ers. In 1969, at 23, he gained full-time employment with the Sixers as a 'jack of all trades Ñ scouting, promotions, marketing.'
After a National Guard stint, Nash worked part-time with the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL and then six years as executive secretary for the Big Five colleges in Philadelphia Ñ St. Joseph's, La Salle, Penn, Temple and Villanova. He returned to the 76ers in 1981 as assistant general manager, business manager and TV analyst. His first season, the team lost to the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. The next year, behind Moses Malone, the Sixers won the NBA championship.
Nash was a GM with three franchises Ñ Philadelphia from 1986-90, Washington from 1990-96 and New Jersey from 1996-2000 Ñ before taking the Portland job. In 15 years as a GM going into this season, Nash's teams had a 498-690 record and were 6-15 in the playoffs.
Ñ Kerry Eggers