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Former Mavericks head coach John MacLeod passes away

MacLead coached the 1987-88 team that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

Mavericks v Lakers Photo by Stephen Dunn /Getty Images

Former Dallas Mavericks head coach John MacLeod, who led the franchise to its first ever Western Conference Finals appearance, passed away Sunday. He was 81-years-old.

For 18 seasons, MacLeod was a head coach in the NBA. He spent 14 seasons with the Phoenix Suns before being hired by the Mavericks.

MacLeod coached Dallas from 1987 to 1989. In that time, he amassed a record of 96-79. His lasting legacy with the team is leading the Mavericks to within one game of the NBA Finals in 1988.

That season, Dallas advanced to the Western Conference Finals to face the Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks made things interesting before finally succumbing to the eventual champions in seven games.

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Mavericks head coach John MacLeod,” the Mavericks said in a statement. “MacLeod led the team during some of best Mavericks moments including its first-ever seven game series and its first-ever Conference Finals in 1988. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Carol, daughter Kathleen and son Matt. He will be missed by the entire Mavericks organization.”

UPDATE: This article was updated with a revised statement from the Mavericks.