Tom Boerwinkle

Thomas F. Boerwinkle (August 23, 1945 – March 26, 2013) was an American National Basketball Association center who spent his entire career with the Chicago Bulls.

Tom Boerwinkle
Boerwinkle in 1969
Personal information
Born(1945-08-23)August 23, 1945
Cleveland, Ohio
DiedMarch 26, 2013(2013-03-26) (aged 67)
Willowbrook, Illinois
Listed height7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High schoolMillersburg Military Institute
(Millersburg, Kentucky)
CollegeTennessee (1965–1968)
NBA draft1968 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career1968–1978
Career history
19681978Chicago Bulls
Career statistics
Points4,596 (7.2 ppg)
Rebounds5,745 (9.0 rpg)
Assists2,007 (3.2 apg)
Stats at

Early life

Tom Boerwinkle was born in Independence, Ohio, one of three children of John and Katherine Boerwinkle.[1] John Boerwinkle, an engineer for an oil refinery,[2] was a native of Cleveland and the son of Dutch immigrants who had come to the United States in 1890.[3]

He attended high school at Millersburg Military Institute, a prep school in Millersburg, Kentucky now known as Forest Hill Military Academy.[4]

College career

Boerwinkle played for the University of Tennessee and helped the team win the 1967 Southeastern Conference championship. The next year, he was named a Helms Foundation first-team all-American.[5]

In his junior and senior season, he averaged a double-double each season—10.2 points and 12.2 rebounds his junior season and 11.3 points and 15.2 rebounds his senior season.[6]

Pro career

Boerwinkle was drafted as the fourth pick of the 1968 NBA Draft and played with the Bulls until 1978. Although largely unappreciated during his playing days, Boerwinkle was a very efficient player, using his brawny seven-foot frame to grab rebounds and set picks while teammates like Jerry Sloan, Chet Walker and Bob Love did most of the scoring.

In addition, he contributed with his passing skills, averaging 3.2 assists per game during his career. On January 8, 1970, Boerwinkle set a Bulls record by grabbing 37 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns. He retired with career totals of 4,596 points, 5,745 rebounds, and 2,007 assists. Boerwinkle also had five triple doubles in his career.[7]

Later life

Boerwinkle later served as a radio color analyst for the Bulls.[8] He was a longtime co-owner of the Olympic Oil Co. in Stickney, Illinois.[9]

Boerwinkle died on March 26, 2013 in Willowbrook, Illinois after struggling with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of leukemia.[10]

Upon his death, longtime Bulls teammate Bob Love said, "He was a great teammate with a heart of gold. And I always tell people: Half of my baskets came from him. He's one of the best-passing big men of all-time." Hall of Fame center and Bulls teammate Artis Gilmore said, "He understood his role extremely well. He had a very big body and he absorbed a lot of space. With those behind-the-back and over-the-head passes, he was very good. He understood the game and he played intelligent basketball."[11]

He was survived by his wife of 41 years,[1] Linda, son Jeff and daughter Gretchen.[11]


  1. "Thomas F. Boerwinkle's Obituary on Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  4. "Tom Boerwinkle Past Stats, Playoff Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  5. Yardley, William (March 28, 2013), "Tom Boerwinkle, Who Had Night to Remember as a Rebounder, Dies at 67", The New York Times
  6. Mattingly, Tom (March 28, 2013). ""One Last Hurrah"". Tom Mattingly's Vol Historian. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  7. Tom Boerwinkle: My Most MemoraBull Game
  8. Chicago Bulls media guide. Retrieved on July 7, 2008.
  9. Logan, Bob (March 8, 1985). "Old Bulls Coming Back For Another Shot". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  10. "Former Bulls standout Boerwinkle dies at 67". ESPN. March 27, 2013. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  11. Mitchell, Fred (March 27, 2013). "Former Chicago Bulls center Tom Boerwinkle dies at 67". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
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