Ken Loeffler

Ken Loeffler (1902-1975)

Teams coached: Geneva Covenanters, Yale Bulldogs, Denver Pioneers, La Salle Explorers, Texas A&M Aggies
Yale record: 61-82 (.427)
Denver record: 9-15 (.375)
La Salle record: 144-28 (.837)
Texas A&M record: 13-35 (.271)
Overall record^: 320-213 (.600)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:   1   (1954)
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:   2   (1954, 1955)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:   2   (1954, 1955)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:   2   (1954, 1955)
  • NIT Championships:   1   (1952)
  • NIT Appearances:   4   (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953)

Awards:

  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 1964)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1955-1957 Texas A&M
1949-1955 La Salle
1948-1949 Providence Steamrollers
1946-1948 St. Louis Bombers
1945-1946 Denver
1935-1942 Yale
1928-1935 Geneva

Ken Loeffler Facts

  • Kenneth D. Loeffler
  • Born April 14, 1902
  • Died January 1, 1975
  • Hometown: Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
  • Alma Mater: Pennsylvania State University (BA, 1924) / Yale University (JD, 1940)
  • Lettered for four years at Penn State, playing under head coach Dutch Hermann
  • Played professionally until 1928 when he became the head coach at Geneva College back home in Beaver Falls, PA
    • Went 93-53 in seven seasons at Geneva, not a Division I level program (currently Division III)
  • Took over as head coach at Yale in 1935, winning 61 games in seven seasons; finished above .500 just twice during that tenure
    • Attended and graduated from Yale’s law school while coaching the basketball team
    • At one time was roommates with Gerald Ford, the future President of the United States
  • Served in the Army Air Forces as a major during World War II
  • Spent one year as the head coach of the Denver Pioneers of the former Mountain States Conference
  • Was the head coach of a professional BAA team, the St. Louis Bombers, for two years, reaching the league playoffs both seasons
  • Took over as head coach of the Providence Steamrollers in 1948, the final season of the BAA before it merged with the NBL to form what is now the NBA
  • Returned to the college ranks in 1949, coaching the La Salle Explorers for the next six seasons
    • Had an incredibly successful tenure at La Salle, winning .837 of his games and going to the postseason in each of his six seasons there (4 NIT, 2 NCAA)
    • Won the 1952 NIT Championship and two years later won the 1954 NCAA National Championship
    • Loeffler’s time at La Salle was highlighted by star player Tom Gola, known as the “Magic Johnson” of his era because of his height (6’7″) and ability to play all five positions
    • Left La Salle after finishing as NCAA Runner-Up in the 1955 NCAA Tournament, Gola’s final season of eligibility
  • Spent two seasons as head coach at Texas A&M but did not achieve the same levels of success and would eventually resign over allegations of recruiting violations
  • After Texas A&M, Loeffler taught business law at Monmouth College (NJ) and later at the University of Nevada at Reno, retiring in 1972 at age 70
  • Authored Ken Loeffler on Basketball in 1950, considered one of the most comprehensive books ever written on basketball by the Naismith Hall of Fame

Ken Loeffler Coaching Tree

  • Tom Gola (La Salle)
  • Grady Lewis (St. Louis Bombers)
  • Jim Phelan (Mount St. Mary’s)

 

^ overall record includes head coaching positions at both the NCAA Division I and Division III levels