Hoops Coach Newell 'Simply the Best There Ever Was'
Wooden, Knight just two to praise man who scored Olympic gold, NCAA, NIT titles
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2008 3:05 PM CST
In this March 21, 1959 file photo, California basketball coach Pete Newell is carried on the shoulders of his team and fans.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Pete Newell will be remembered as perhaps the “greatest basketball coach of all time,” Bruce Jenkins writes for the San Francisco Chronicle. The legendary UC-Berkeley coach died yesterday, at 93; he was the first man to win NIT and NCAA titles and Olympic gold.  “He built empires out of sawdust,” Jenkins writes, “all the while molding impressionable youngsters into the men they would become.”

Newell was a fierce competitor, and inspires fear even today in the likes of John Wooden, the legendary UCLA coach. But Newell’s way with his team was mystical. “People marveled at his instincts,” Jenkins writes, “his innate sense of the human spirit, his ability to accurately size up a person within moments.” His protégé, Bobby Knight, did not disagree. “Pete Newell? He's simply the best there ever was.”