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Allen, Phog (18 November 1885–16 September 1974), basketball coach, was born Forrest Clare Allen in Jamesport, Missouri, the son of William Perry Allen, a traveling salesman, and Alexine Perry. At an early age, Allen moved with his family to Independence, Missouri, where he grew up on the same block as future president ...

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Red Auerbach. Gelatin silver print, 1957, by David Marlin. (Auerbach, left, talks with the Celtics' All-Star point guard Bob Cousy.) National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Auerbach, Red (20 September 1917–28 October 2006), basketball coach, was born Arnold Jacob Aurbach in Brooklyn, New York, to Hyman Auerbach and Marie Thompson Auerbach. Hyman was a Jew from Minsk, who fled anti-Semitism in Belarus at the age of 13, arriving in New York with two brothers. Marie was a cashier in a restaurant where Hyman worked....

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Bee, Clair Francis (02 March 1896–20 May 1983), basketball coach and writer, was born near Clarksburg, West Virginia. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. Before he was six, he suffered from tuberculosis, and a doctor advised that he spend a great deal of time outdoors. “That prescription,” Bee later said, “helped to push me into sports.” Bee and his friends often would sneak into a church gymnasium to play basketball. When he was six, his mother died of tuberculosis, after which Bee spent part of his boyhood on his uncle’s farm in Belleville, Kansas, part in Parkersburg and Grafton, West Virginia, and the rest at Massanutten Military Academy, Woodstock, Virginia. As a sophomore at Grafton High School in 1915, he wrote what may have been one of the first short stories on basketball, “Bud’s Loyalty.” In 1917 he graduated from high school....

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Blood, Ernest Artel (04 October 1872–05 February 1955), athlete and basketball coach, nicknamed "Prof", athlete and basketball coach, nicknamed “Prof,” was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, the son of farmers. Blood spent most of his youth in New Hampshire and Massachusetts but did not attend college. An all-around athlete, he excelled in basketball, football, baseball, fencing, gymnastics, and tumbling. Short of stature but muscularly developed, he could throw a sixteen-pound shot put into the air and then catch it on the nape of his neck....

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Brown, Walter A. (10 February 1905–07 September 1964), sports promoter and coach, was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the son of George Victory Brown, a sports promoter and athletic director at Boston University, and Elizabeth Gallagher. Brown attended Boston Latin School and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1926. After brief stints in the business world and an apprenticeship under his father, who was general manager of Boston Arena and president of Boston Garden, Brown turned to coaching amateur hockey. From 1931 to 1936 he toured Europe with a team of handpicked players, making history in 1933 when the team defeated Toronto 2–1 in Prague for the world’s amateur title—the first non-Canadian team to win the championship. In 1932 he founded the Boston Olympics hockey team of the Amateur Hockey Association of America; he coached the team for four years before moving to the front office in 1936. During the next decade the Olympics won five U.S. national titles....

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Carlson, Henry Clifford (04 July 1894–01 November 1964), college basketball coach and physician, was born in Pitsburg, Ohio, a mere crossroad in the west-central part of the state, the son of Harold Carlson and Martha (maiden name unknown). When he was two his family moved to Murray City, Ohio, where his father went to work in the coal mines. Tragedy and near poverty plagued the family. When Henry was five his father died in a mining accident. His mother remarried, and the family moved to Fayette City, Pennsylvania, where his stepfather also lost his life in the mines. Unlike many of his friends, Carlson completed high school, graduating in 1912. Unable to afford college, he enrolled in the Bellefonte Academy in Fayette, Pennsylvania. At Bellefonte the young redhead pursued a college preparatory curriculum for two years and excelled in three sports before entering the University of Pittsburgh on an athletic scholarship in 1914....

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Case, Everett Norris (21 June 1900–30 April 1966), basketball coach, was born in Anderson, Indiana, the son of Samuel H. Case and Emma Norris. Case played tennis at Anderson High School, but, surprisingly, he did not play basketball, either in high school or in college....

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Dave DeBusschere. Eluding the Baltimore Bullets' Wesley Unseld, New York City, 30 December 1972. Courtesy of AP Images.

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DeBusschere, Dave (16 October 1940–14 May 2003), basketball player and coach, was born David Albert DeBusschere in Detroit, Michigan. Little is recorded about DeBusschere's early life, but what is known is that his basketball career began when he was a star for Austin Catholic High School in Detroit. Basketball, however, was not the only sport in which DeBusschere excelled. He was the star pitcher on an Austin baseball team that won the city championship, and he was also a pitcher on a local team that won the national junior championship. Meanwhile, he led his high school team to the state basketball title....

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Dehnert, Dutch (05 April 1898–20 April 1979), professional basketball player and coach, was born Henry Dehnert in New York City. Dehnert grew up on the streets of Manhattan’s West Side and attended public schools. He did not play high school basketball, however, and he never enrolled in college. Instead, around 1918 he began playing professional basketball with successful brief stints in the New York State League, Pennsylvania State League, and the New England League before joining the Original Celtics in 1919. The first Celtic team played from 1914 through 1917, but it did not emerge as the most celebrated of its time until the years from 1919 until 1922, when the team was joined by Dehnert, Johnny Beckman, Horse Haggarty, Joe Trippe, Pete Barry, Nat Holman (the only player with collegiate experience), Chris Leonard, ...

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Diddle, Edgar Allen, Sr. (12 March 1895–02 January 1970), college basketball coach and administrator, was born in Gradyville, Kentucky, the son of John Haskins Diddle, a tobacco farmer, and Mary Elizabeth Hughes. Gradyville was little more than a general store, post office, a few houses, and a one-room schoolhouse for elementary grades. Between his chores and school Diddle played sandlot baseball and sharpened his basketball skills on outdoor, dirt courts. By the time he entered Columbia High School he excelled in both sports....

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Edmundson, Hec (03 August 1886–06 August 1964), college basketball and track coach, was born Clarence Sinclair Edmundson in Moscow, Idaho, the son of Thomas Sinclair Edmundson and Emma Jeannette Rowley. He acquired an unusual nickname as a boy. Running along dirt roads in the Palouse region of western Idaho, he was frequently heard to utter “Aw, heck!” in self-criticism of his training efforts. Thus Clarence became Hec, the name by which he was known throughout his life....

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Gottlieb, Eddie (15 September 1898–07 December 1979), professional basketball coach, promoter, and team owner, was born Edward Gottlieb in Kiev, Ukraine, the son of Morris Gottlieb and Leah (maiden name unknown). Gottlieb’s family moved to the United States in 1907. While growing up in a Jewish section of Philadelphia, he learned basketball, and in 1918 he organized and promoted a team that represented the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association (Sphas). The Sphas soon ended their affiliation with the association but kept a six-pointed star and the Hebrew letters ...

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Hickey, Edgar Sylvester (20 December 1902–05 December 1980), college basketball coach, was born on a farm near Reynolds in Thayer County, Nebraska, the son of Christopher Hickey, a real estate broker, and Fern (maiden name unknown). He played four sports in high school and captained the football, basketball, and baseball teams. At Creighton University in Omaha, he played two years of basketball and four years of varsity football before graduating cum laude with a law degree in 1926. In 1924 Hickey had married Hariette Pinkerton of Omaha. They had two sons....

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Lapchick, Joe (12 April 1900–10 August 1970), basketball player and coach, was born Joseph Bohomiel Lapchick in Yonkers, New York, the son of Joseph B. Lapchick, a coal miner, hat finisher, trolley motorman, and policeman, and Frances Kassik. Lapchick, the eldest of seven children, was expected to help support the family. As a child he played an improvised form of street basketball, but he most often played baseball. He was a tall boy, 6′ 3″ at age twelve, and his height allowed him to begin caddying when he was only nine. He caddied for many top New York athletes, such as ...

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Litwack, Harry (20 September 1907–07 August 1999), college basketball coach, was born in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the son of Jacob Litwack, a cobbler, and Rachel Rech Litwack. At the age of five he immigrated with his parents to the United States; he grew up in Philadelphia. Raised in a home in which only Yiddish was spoken, he developed a lasting love for the game of basketball. “When I was a kid, every phone pole had a peach basket on it,” he recalled. “Every Jewish boy played basketball.”...

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McCracken, Emmett Branch (09 June 1908–04 June 1970), basketball player and coach, was born in Monrovia, Indiana, the son of Charles McCracken and Ida Williams, farmers. McCracken, known by his middle name, Branch, graduated from Monrovia High School in 1926 and entered Indiana University the same year. He received a B.S. in 1930 and an M.S. in 1935, both in physical education. McCracken earned varsity letters at Indiana for three years of play (1927–1930). At that time Indiana competed in the Western Conference, a forerunner to the Big Ten, and McCracken was named to the all-conference first team each season and as the conference’s most valuable player in 1928. In his senior year, 1929–1930, he set a conference scoring record and was a Helms Foundation All-America selection. At 6′ 4″ and 195 pounds—big for that era—he was one of the first players to dominate a game by virtue of his size. In addition, he played football for Indiana, although he reputedly had never seen a game before arriving at the university. His height made him an effective end, and he lettered all three years that he played, earning all-conference honors in 1929....

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McCracken, Jack (11 June 1911–05 January 1958), basketball player and coach, was born John McCracken in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Little is known about either his parents or his early life. In 1925 McCracken entered Classen High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he played for Henry (Hank) Iba, who would become one of basketball’s coaching legends. After a sparkling high school career, which included a second place finish in the 1929 National High School Basketball Tournament held in Chicago and 1929 High School All-American honors, McCracken accompanied Iba to Maryville, Missouri, to play for Maryville Teachers College (later Northwest Missouri State University). During McCracken’s three years at Maryville the Bobcats compiled a perfect 31–0 record in 1930–1931, and in 1932 they lost in the championship game of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, to the Wichita Henry Clothiers on a last-second shot, 15–14....

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McDermott, Robert (07 January 1914–04 October 1963), basketball player and coach, was born in Whitestone, Queens, New York. He left Flushing High School after just one year and began his professional basketball career with the Brooklyn Visitations of the Metropolitan Basketball League in 1932. He and his wife, Virginia, had five children....