Clair Bee

Clair Bee (1896-1983)

Teams coached: Rider Broncs, Long Island Blackbirds, Baltimore Bullets
Rider record: 53-8 (.869)
Long Island record: 360-80 (.818)
Overall record^: 413-88 (.824)

Career Accomplishments:


  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 1968)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1952-1954 Baltimore Bullets
1945-1951 Long Island
1931-1943 Long Island
1928-1931 Rider

Clair Bee Facts

  • Clair Francis Bee
  • Born March 2, 1896
  • Died May 20, 1983
  • Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia
  • Alma Mater: Waynesburg College (BA, 1925)
  • Played baseball, football and tennis at Waynesburg College (now University) in Pennsylvania
  • After briefly coaching at the HS level, Bee was hired as the first-ever head basketball coach at Rider in 1928
    • Went 53-8 in three seasons with the basketball program, never losing more than 3 games in a season
    • Was also the athletic director, spent two seasons coaching the football team and one season coaching baseball
  • Left for Long Island in 1931, spending the next 20 years at that University
    • Was 360-80 in 18 seasons as the Blackbirds’ basketball coach, winning two NIT titles in 7 appearances
    • Had just one losing season during his tenure and twice finished undefeated (1935-36) and (1938-39)
    • Among his many contributions to the game include implementing the first 1-3-1 zone defense
    • In addition to basketball, Bee served as head football coach for one season (5-1) and baseball coach for five (75-22-4)
  • Bee was forced to resign in 1951 after several LIU players were implicated in the CCNY point shaving scandal
    • The Blackbirds had gone 40-9 in the previous two years and achieved Top-5 AP rankings both seasons
    • The basketball program was shut down that same year and did not return to competition until 1957
  • Hired in 1952 to lead the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets, going 32-110 in two seasons at the helm
  • Became athletic director at New York Military Academy (Cornwall, NY) in 1954, remaining there until his retirement in 1967
  • Was an author throughout the latter part of his career, writing technical books and the “Chip Hilton” series of novels for kids
  • Inducted into the Naismith Basketball HOF in 1968 and was in the inaugural 2006 class of the National College Basketball HOF

Clair Bee Coaching Tree


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA level only