C. M. Newton

C. M. Newton (1930-2018)

Teams coached: Transylvania Pioneers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Vanderbilt Commodores
Alabama record: 211-123 (.632)
Vanderbilt record: 129-115 (.529)
Overall record^: 509-375 (.576)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  4  (1975, 1976, 1988, 1989)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  (1988)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  6  (1973, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1987)
  • SEC Regular Season Champion:  3  (1974, 1975, 1976)


  • SEC Coach of the Year:  5  (1972, 1975, 1976, 1988, 1989)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2000)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1981-1989 Vanderbilt
1968-1980 Alabama
1956-1968 Transylvania

C. M. Newton Facts

  • Charles Martin Newton
  • Born February 2, 1930
  • Died June 4, 2018
  • Hometown: Rockwood, Tennessee
  • Alma Mater: University of Kentucky (BA, 1951)
  • Played baseball and basketball a Kentucky; was part of the Wildcats’ 1951 NCAA National Championship team coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp
    • Signed with the New York Yankees after graduation and briefly played in their farm system
  • Started his basketball coaching career in 1956, spending twelve seasons as the head coach at Division III Transylvania in Lexington, KY
    • Integrated the Pioneers basketball program by recruiting the school’s first African-American player
  • Rupp recommended Newton to Alabama head football coach and athletic director Paul “Bear” Bryant, who then hired him to coach the Tide’s basketball team in 1968
    • Won 211 games in twelve seasons at Alabama, going to two NCAA Tournaments, four NITs and winning SEC regular season titles in three straight years
    • Recruited and coached Wendell Hudson, the program’s first African-American player
  • Resigned from his position in 1980 to become the assistant commissioner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC)
  • Returned to coaching just one year later, taking over as head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores
    • Won 129 games in eight seasons and went to the postseason four times (two NCAA, two NIT), including the program’s third ever trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 1988
  • Overlapping his Alabama, SEC and Vanderbilt jobs was a six-year tenure as the chair of the NCAA Rules Committee, during which his committee adopted the shot clock, three-point line and coaches’ box
  • Left Vanderbilt in 1989 to return to his alma mater and become the athletic director at Kentucky in the midst of NCAA scandal and probation
    • Hired Rick Pitino, who would lead the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament in every season in which they were eligible
    • The Wildcats went to three Final Fours under Pitino and won the NCAA National Championship in 1996
    • Continued to break down walls by hiring the school’s first black women’s basketball coach (Bernadette Mattox) in 1995 and first black men’s basketball coach (Tubby Smith) to replace Pitino in 1997
    • Newton retired in 2000; the football field at Commonwealth Stadium was named “C. M. Newton Field” in his honor (now known as “C. M. Newton Grounds”)
  • During his time at Kentucky, Newton spent another seven seasons on the NCAA Division I Basketball Committee (1992-1999) and served as the president of USA Basketball from 1992-1996
    • With Team USA, Newton opened the doors for the Dream Team, the squad of NBA stars that dominated the 1992 Summer Olympics for an easy gold medal
  • In 2000, Newton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, recognized for his wide-ranging contributions to the game of basketball throughout his career
    • Was inducted with the inaugural 2006 class into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, again recognized as an overall contributor
  • Newton passed away on June 4, 2018 at the age of 88; he is survived by his wife, Nancy, and three daughters from his (late) first wife

C. M. Newton Coaching Tree

  • Lee Rose (South Florida, Purdue, UNC Charlotte, Transylvania)
  • Wimp Sanderson (Arkansas-Little Rock, Alabama)
  • Tommy Suitts (Chicago State, Rice)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at both the NCAA Division I and Division III levels