Jack Friel

Jack Friel (1898-1995)

Teams coached: Washington State Cougars
Washington State record: 495-377 (.568)
Overall record: 495-377 (.568)

Career Accomplishments:

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1928-1958 Washington State

Jack Friel Facts

  • John Bryan Friel
  • Born August 26, 1898
  • Died December 12, 1995
  • Hometown: Waterville, Washington
  • Alma Mater: Washington State University (BA, 1923)
  • Originally enrolled at WSU in 1916 but left school to serve with the US Army in Europe during World War I
  • Returned to Pullman in 1920, playing basketball (for head coach Fred Bohler) and baseball for the Cougars
  • Started his coaching career at the high school level in his home state, spending three years each as the head coach at Colville HS and North Central HS in Spokane
  • Became the head coach at his alma mater in 1928 and spent the next 30 years leading the Cougars’ program
    • Struggled in his first year but quickly started winning, going 495-377 over the course of his tenure
    • Won the PCC title in 1941 and made a run to the (third-ever) NCAA championship game (lost to Wisconsin)
    • Also coached the baseball team (1943-45), the golf team and served as a college football official
    • Stopped coaching the basketball team in 1958, but continued to coach the golf team into the early 1960s
    • Had the court at Beasley Coliseum (still the Cougars’ home) named after him in 1977 and was inducted into the Washington State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978
  • Became the commissioner of the Big Sky Conference in 1963, holding that title fo eight years
  • Worked for the Pac-10 in the 1980s, evaluating basketball officials for the conference
  • Remained in Pullman for the rest of his life, living in the same house for over 50 years
  • Passed away in 1995 at the age of 97; was survived by his wife Catherine, son Wallis and daughter Janette
    • Posthumously inducted into the Pac-10 Basketball Hall of Honor in 2003

Jack Friel Coaching Tree