Reaction to Pete Newell’s death
November 18, 2008
Reaction to the death of Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell on Monday at age of 93:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pete Newell earlier today. Pete was one of the most brilliant teachers and coaches the game has ever known, and was also an exceptional front office man as the Lakers general manager from 1972-76. He was a great help to me when I first purchased the Lakers and he was very generous with his time and counsel. In addition to his great contributions to the basketball world, Pete was also one of the finest gentlemen we’ve known. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the Newell family.” ” Lakers owner Jerry Buss.
“The thing that I enjoyed the most about him was his willingness to share. It’s not like you have secrets, but some people are a lot more willing to take time to sit down and talk to you and help you. Pete was one of those guys. He was always available and he was always very, very generous with his time and never ‘I’m an Olympic coach, I’m a pro coach, I’m this, I’m that. I don’t have time for a high school coach or a junior college coach or whatever it was, an assistant coach.’ He had time for everybody, which is a great thing.” ” Oklahoma City Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo.
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“I am saddened for the Michigan State family, and on a way bigger stage, the entire basketball family. He was a standard in the game, where everyone admired what he did and what he stood for. Furthermore, he did it at all levels of the game.” ” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
“I think he’s the most influential coach of our time. I think he’s touched more coaches’ lives that any coach I can think of. He still stayed in touch with the game at all levels, high school, college and pro and internationally.” ” Rice coach Ben Braun, a former California and Eastern Michigan coach.
“I patterned much of what I did after his teachings. I really admired his basketball mind. He’s one of a small group to win NIT, NCAA and Olympic titles, and he made contributions to basketball at every level, which he continued doing late in life. From an offensive standpoint, and even somewhat defensively, he was like a scientist very pattern-minded. But he also showed great ingenuity. Whatever success I might have found in basketball, Pete Newell deserves a lot of the credit.” ” former Michigan State coach Gus Ganakas.
“It’s a sad day, but he had a great life and has a great legacy.” ” UCLA coach Ben Howland.
“He was just a giant of a man and as a teacher of the game. That was always most important to him ” that he was a teacher first. For him, it was always about giving back to the game. He was at his best for 30-plus years at his big man camp. I’d look out on the court and it was Pete Newell’s ‘Laboratory of Learning.’ He probably impacted more people when he left coaching. He really reinvented himself. He never took a dime working those camps. He wanted to send a message to the NBA players that it wasn’t about the money.” ” Jeff Fellenzer, the longtime tournament director of the Pete Newell Challenge who drove Newell to and from the Bay Area from Southern California for the college basketball event.
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