Jerry Krause, the man who served as the architect for the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s, died Tuesday at age 77.
The Chicago Bulls released the following statement:
“The entire Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry Krause,” said Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “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. I would not have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame if it were not for Jerry. We will miss him tremendously, and we send our thoughts and prayers to his wife Thelma and the Krause family.”
Krause helped craft and presided over all six of the Bulls’ championships teams led by Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coached by Phil Jackson.
He took over as general manager in 1985, and assembled the talent around Jordan that led to those title runs. He also hired Jackson to replace Doug Collins, first bringing Jackson in as an assistant to Collins from the Continental Basketball Association, before firing Collins and elevating Jackson into the role as head coach.
Krause also mined Pippen out of no frills Central Arkansas after a Draft day trade in 1987 and he also drafted Horace Grant, another key member of the core that led to the championship dynasty.
As much as he was celebrated for his work in building the core for that dynasty, Krause was assigned much of the blame for the breakup of that group.
He retired from the Bulls in 2003 having never been able to rekindle that 1990s magic again without stars like Jordan, Pippen and Jackson. Prior to his time with Bulls, he worked as an NBA scout for several teams and also as a baseball scout for the Chicago White Sox, whose owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, also owns the Bulls.
Krause is survived by his wife, Thelma; his two children, Stacy and David; and, his grandchildren Colette, Josh, Mia and Riley.