Dick Versace

Dick Versace (1940-2022)

Teams coached: Bradley Braves, Indiana Pacers
Bradley record: 156-88 (.639)
Overall record^: 156-88 (.639)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1997-1998 Milwaukee Bucks (asst)
1988-1990 Indiana Pacers
1987-1988 Detroit Pistons (asst)
1978-1986 Bradley
1976-1978 Jackson CC
1974-1976 Michigan State (asst)
1973-1974 Saint Louis (asst)

Dick Versace Facts

  • Richard Patrick Versace
  • Born April 16, 1940
  • Died February 25, 2022
  • Hometown: Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin (BA, 1964)
  • Is of Italian, Puerto Rican and Irish descent; his mother is author Marie Teresa “Tere” Rios
    • Born in Fort Bragg where his father, Colonel Humbert Joseph Versace, was stationed
    • Graduated from Wisconsin but did not play basketball there
  • Started his coaching career at the high school level, first coaching football in central Illinois and later coaching basketball at St. Joseph HS (Kenosha, WI) and Gordon Tech HS (Chicago, IL)
  • First college assistant jobs were one season at Saint Louis under head coach Bob Polk and two seasons under Gus Ganakas at Michigan State
  • Spent two seasons as the head coach at Jackson CC in Jackson, MI
  • Hired in 1978 to be the head basketball coach at Bradley, leading the Braves for the next eight seasons
  • Spent one year as an assistant under Chuck Daly with the Detroit Pistons before becoming the Indiana Pacers’ head coach
    • Became the first-ever NBA coach of Puerto Rican descent, going 73-87 over two seasons
  • Then worked in television before spending one season as an assistant under Chris Ford with the Milwaukee Bucks
  • Spent six years with the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies organization: three as President of Basketball Operations and three as General Manager
  • Had two adult children; his brother, Rocky Versace, was a US Army captain who received the Medal of Honor for his actions as a POW in Vietnam
  • Versace passed away in February 2022 at the age of 81

Dick Versace Coaching Tree

  • Tony Barone (Memphis Grizzlies, Texas A&M, Creighton)
  • Jay Eck (Toledo, Wisconsin-Stevens Point)
  • Rudy Keeling (Northeastern, Maine)
  • Jim Les (UC Davis, Bradley)
  • Randy Wittman (Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers)


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