John Powless

John Powless (1932-2021)

Teams coached: Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin record: 88-108 (.449)
Overall record: 88-108 (.449)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  0

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1968-1976 Wisconsin
1963-1968 Wisconsin (asst)
1960-1963 Cincinnati (asst)
1958-1960 Florida State (asst)

John Powless Facts

  • John Dale Powless
  • Born August 24, 1932
  • Died May 20, 2021
  • Hometown: Flora, Illinois
  • Alma Mater: Murray State University (BA, 1957) / University of Michigan (MA)
  • Played football, basketball and tennis at Flora HS (IL), originally accepted an offer to play basketball and tennis at Michigan
  • Transferred to Murray State, where he played both sports; was coached by Rex Alexander in basketball
    • Was an accomplished tennis player, winning several OVC titles and going undefeated as a collegian in singles matches
    • Powless was part of the inaugural 1965 class of the Murray State Hall of Fame
    • Continued to play tennis after graduation, winning numerous national and international competitions
    • Played alongside his father, winning five-straight national clay court “father and son” doubles titles
  • After one season coaching HS basketball in Paducah, KY, Powless joined J.K. “Bud” Kennedy‘s coaching staff at Florida State
  • Left FSU in 1960 to be an assistant coach under Ed Jucker at Cincinnati; also coached the freshman team for three seasons
  • Arrived at Wisconsin in 1963, spending the next five seasons as an assistant coach under John Erickson
    • Was also the Badgers’ head tennis coach for five years (1963-68), going 52-39 overall
  • Elevated to head basketball coach in 1968 and helmed that program for eight years until 1976
    • Went 88-108 overall, highlighted by two winning seasons (1971-72 and 1973-74); ranked as high as #13 in 1974
    • Later provided color commentary during local television broadcasts of Badger basketball games
    • Inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002 for his contributions coaching both sports
  • After leaving UW, he stayed in Madison and worked as tennis pro and director at Cherokee Country Club for three years
    • Starting in 1979, opened and operated the John Powless Tennis Center in Madison with his wife, Sheree
    • Played tennis for much of his adult life, achieving a number one ranking in the ITF for players over 55
    • Named “U.S. Senior Tennis Player of the Millennium” in 1999 and inducted into the U.S. Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000
  • Passed away in 2021 at the age of 88 following a battle with end-stage colon cancer

John Powless Coaching Tree

  • coming soon