Pete Newell, the Hall of Fame basketball coach who won an NCAA championship and Olympic gold medal and later tutored some of the game's greatest big men, died Monday. He was 93.
The University of California confirmed his death. Newell coached the Bears to a national title in 1959. No details were available, but Newell had a serious lung operation in 2005.
Newell coached 14 years at San Francisco, Michigan State and California before doctors advised him to give it up because of the emotional toll. His final coaching job came in the 1960 Olympics, when he took a U.S. team led by Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Jerry Lucas to a gold medal in Rome.
Warriors head coach Don Nelseon said, "This is obviously a very sad day for the game of basketball, whether you are associated with the NBA, college or high school ranks. I’ve known Pete for over 50 years and have a tremendous amount of respect for the man and his many accomplishments. Pete was a great coach and a great man who had the ability to relate to players and people on every level. A countless number of coaches and players benefitted from Pete’s tutelage over the years – including those who attended his specialized camps each summer – and will be indebted to him for the expertise and wisdom that he provided. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."