Monday, November 17, 2008

RIP Pete Newell

By Rick Morris

Teacher, coach, mentor, friend, family man ... all of these labels and more applied to basketball legend Pete Newell, who passed away at age 93 today after his health declined recently.

Although best-known to today's fans as the proprietor of the "big men camps" that imparted technique to some of the finest centers of the modern era, the Hall of Fame coach actually had a tremendously well-rounded career that included an NCAA championship and a gold medal U.S. Olympic team in 1960 that was headlined by Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Jerry West. Having cut his coaching career short for health reasons at age 44 (a wise decision in light of the fact that he made it almost another half-century here on Earth), perhaps the most impressive note on his resume was the fact that he beat the uber-legend John Wooden the last eight times that their teams met!

He was a man of many accomplishments and even more warm personal relationships. This clip from a documentary about his life paints a picture of the lives he touched. RIP, Coach.

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