Phil Woolpert

Phil Woolpert (1915-1987)

Teams coached: San Francisco Dons, San Diego Toreros
San Francisco record: 153-78 (.662)
San Diego record: 90-90 (.500)
Overall record: 243-168 (.591)

Career Accomplishments:


  • UPI Coach of the Year:  2  (1955, 1956)
  • WCC Coach of the Year:  4  (1955, 1956, 1957, 1958)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 1992)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1962-1969 San Diego
1950-1959 San Francisco

Phil Woolpert Facts

  • Phil Woolpert
  • Born December 15, 1915
  • Died May 7, 1987
  • Hometown: Danville, Kentucky
  • Alma Mater: Loyola Marymount University (BA, 1940)
  • The Kentucky-native went to high school in Los Angeles and then, after a year at LA Junior College, played at Loyola University, LA (now Loyola Marymount) for head coach James Needles
    • In high school, served as a ball boy at Loyola Marymount alongside fellow future HOF coaches Pete Newell and Tex Winter
  • Spent four years as the head coach at St. Ignatius HS in San Francisco, leaving with a 63-29 overall record
  • Became head basketball coach and athletic director at USF in 1950, helping guide the Dons into the WCC a few seasons later
    • Coached future Hall of Famers and NBA Champions Bill Russell and K. C. Jones in the mid-1950’s, anchors of what would be some of the most successful college teams in the history of the game
      • Run included a 60-game win streak, the longest in NCAA history until UCLA‘s 88-game streak in the 1970s
    • During the 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons, the Dons went 57-1 (26-0) overall and won back-to-back NCAA titles
    • Woolpert led the team to the Final Four in 1957 and Sweet Sixteen in 1958, capping a run of four-straight WCC titles
  • Woolpert briefly coached the San Francisco Saints of the American Basketball League
  • Coached the San Diego Toreros, then an NCAA Independent, from 1962-1969; posted a 90-90 record during that tenure, finishing .500 or better in five of seven seasons
  • Retired from coaching in 1969, settled in Sequim, WA and became a school bus driver for the Sequim School District
  • Passed away in 1987 after a battle with lung cancer; survived by his wife, Mary, and their five children

Phil Woolpert Coaching Tree

  • Bernie Bickerstaff (Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Seattle SuperSonics, San Diego)
  • Ross Giudice (San Francisco)
  • K. C. Jones (Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, Washington Bullets, Brandeis)
  • Bill Russell (Sacramento Kings, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics)