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Pete Newell, Basketball Coach and a Good Man, Dies at 93

Posted by Philip Saponara on November 18, 2008


Bobby Knight was a good friend of Pete Newell, and will miss him very much

Bobby Knight was a good friend of Pete Newell, and will miss him very much

Pete Newell, one of the most infuliential coaches in basketball, who coached the University of California Golden Bears to a championship in 1959, the USA basketball team to a Gold medal, and the founder of a camp that would forever change how low post players viewed the game died Monday in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He was 93 years old. The Coach had lived a long life that inovated many people and change the lives of others along the way.  Earl Shultz a friend and player for Newell, confirmed to the Associated press on Monday that the legendary coach died early Monday in his home close to San Diego. Newell was diagnosed with many different sorts of lung problems linked to smoking issues. 


     Pete’s coaching style was like any other of his time. He originated the “three out, two in,” to protect a lead, predated the similar “four corners” technique popularized by Dean Smith at North Carolina. Newell also made the cross court pass popular and taught his players different techniques that other coaches of the late 50s early 60s did not know of or were thought to be too risky. His 1960 Olympic team was led by Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, who became two of the greatest guards in N.B.A. history. Newell a College coach also held high executive powers being the general manager for the Los Angeles Lakers brought in a new face to town, his name; Kareem Abdul-Jabar. After some years of service in the Navy he became the coach of San Fransisco university and lead his team to the Nation Invitational Tournament, at the team it was the premier event for the NCAA. and also coached the University of Michigan State. After his year’s with MSU he returned to California to coach the University of Calif. There he won a National title in 1959 and returned in 1960, only to loose to the losing to an Ohio State team that featured John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas and Bob Knight. His overall record for 14 seasons was 234-123, a winning percentage of .655.  

After many years of coaching his doctors told Newell that because of his dependency of cigarettes and caffeine he would have to quit coaching because if his stress levels got too high they would kill him. He later created and formed a basketball camp that housed some of the greatest players of all time such as Shaquille O’neal, Bill Walton, Jabar, Hakeem Olajuwon, James Worthy, Bernard King and many other great players. 

     Although he has past on the friends, family, and fans of Newell will always remember what great of a coach and a man he was……… Lost but never forgotten 1915-2008


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