Pete Newell

Pete Newell (1915-2008)

Teams coached: San Francisco Dons, Michigan State Spartans, California Golden Bears
San Francisco record: 70-37 (.654)
Michigan State record: 45-42 (.517)
California record: 119-44 (.730)
Overall record: 234-123 (.655)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1954-1960 California
1950-1954 Michigan State
1946-1950 San Francisco

Pete Newell Facts

  • Peter Francis Newell
  • Born August 31, 1915 in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Died November 17, 2008
  • Hometown: Los Angeles, California
  • Alma Mater: Loyola Marymount University (BA, 1939)
  • In high school, served as a ball boy at Loyola Marymount alongside fellow future HOF coaches Phil Woolpert and Tex Winter
  • Played basketball for head coach James Needles at LMU and then served in the US Navy from 1942-1946
  • Became the head coach at San Francisco in 1954, winning 70 games in four years; USF were the 1949 NIT Champions
  • Headed to the Midwest in 1950 to become head coach at Michigan State and returned to the West Coast four years later as head coach at Cal
  • Had a very successful tenure at Cal, winning four PCC titles and going to the NCAA Tournament in each of those four seasons
  • Coached Team USA to a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome
    • Team included future Hall of Famers Walt Bellamy, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Jerry Lucas
    • Often considered the best amateur team ever assembled, the squad was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2010
  • On the advice of his doctors, Newell stepped away from coaching in 1960 and instead served as Cal’s AD for the next eight years
  • Later spent time in the NBA, including stints as the GM of the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers
  • Outside of coaching, also organized an annual training camp for forwards and centers called the “Big Man Camp”
    • Attendees included Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Bill Walton
    • The NABC has awarded the Pete Newell Big Man Award to the top D-I low-post player each year since 2000
  • The floor at Cal’s Haas Pavilion was named Pete Newell Court in 1987 in his honor
  • Along with his late wife, Florence, had four sons

Pete Newell Coaching Tree

  • John E. Benington (Michigan State, Saint Louis, Drake)
  • Ross Giudice (San Francisco)
  • Sonny Means (Western Michigan)
  • Stan Morrison (San Jose State, USC, Pacific)
  • Gordon C. Stauffer (Nicholls State, Geneva, IPFW, Indiana State, Washburn)
  • Bob Stevens (Oklahoma, South Carolina)