Jack McCloskey

Jack McCloskey (1925-2017)

Teams coached: Penn Quakers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Portland Trail Blazers
Penn record: 146-105 (.582)
Wake Forest record: 70-89 (.440)
Overall record^: 216-194 (.527)

Career Accomplishments:

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1972-1974 Portland Trail Blazers
1966-1972 Wake Forest
1956-1966 Penn

Jack McCloskey Facts

  • John William McCloskey
  • Born September 19, 1925
  • Died June 1, 2017
  • Hometown: Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania
  • Alma Mater: University of Pennsylvania (BA, 1948)
  • Originally played football at Pittsburgh, but left school after a year to serve the US Marines in World War II
  • Returned to his home state after the War, spending one year at Penn where he lettered in three sports and got his degree
  • Started his coaching career at Collingswood HS (NJ), where one of his players was future college coach Bucky Waters
    • In his first year, his team won the 1953 South Jersey Group 4 title
  • Became the head coach at alma mater Penn in 1956, leading the Quakers for ten seasons
    • Went 146-105 overall, culminating with a 19-6 season and Ivy League title in 1965-66
  • Left Penn for Wake Forest in 1966, coaching the Demon Deacons for six seasons
    • Compiled a 70-89 overall record, finishing above .500 three times
  • Made the jump to the NBA in 1972, spending two years as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers
    • Was 48-106 over that timeframe, serving as just the second head coach in franchise history
  • Embarked on a front office career after that, eventually becoming the GM of the Detroit Pistons in 1979
    • Built the franchise into a contender over the next 13 seasons, assembling the famed “Bad Boys” teams – coached by Chuck Daly – that would win back-to-back NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990
      • In addition to hiring Daly, McCloskey built around star player Isiah Thomas by drafting eventual Hall of Famers Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman and trading for Bill Laimbeer and Mark Aguirre, earning him the nickname “Trader Jack”
    • Had his name raised on a banner at the Palace of Auburn Hills in March 2008
  • Worked in the front office for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 1992-95 and with the Toronto Raptors in 2004
  • Passed away in June 2017 at age 91, a month after it was announced that McCloskey was suffering from Alzheimer’s

Jack McCloskey Coaching Tree

  • Rick Adelman (Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Dick Harter (Charlotte Hornets, Penn State, Oregon, Penn, Rider)
  • Eddie Payne (USC Upstate, Greensboro College, Oregon State, East Carolina, Belmont Abbey, Truett-McConnell)
  • Larry Steele (Portland)


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