Walter Meanwell

Walter “Doc” Meanwell (1884-1953)

Teams coached: Wisconsin Badgers, Missouri Tigers
Wisconsin record: 246-99 (.713)
Missouri record: 34-2 (.944)
Overall record: 280-101 (.735)

Career Accomplishments:


  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 1959)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1920-1934 Wisconsin
1919-1920 Missouri
1917-1918 Missouri
1911-1917 Wisconsin

Walter Meanwell Facts

  • Walter E. Meanwell
  • Born January 26, 1884
  • Died December 2, 1953
  • Hometown: Leeds, England
  • Alma Mater: Johns Hopkins University (PhD, 1915)
  • Arrived at UW in 1911 to be the Director of the Gymnasium but took over as the head basketball coach when the previous coach resigned
    • Went 15-0 (12-0) in his first season, winning the Big Ten (then Western Conference) regular season championship
    • Repeated as conference champion in 1913 (14-1), 1914 (15-0) and 1916 (20-1)
    • Meanwell and Wisconsin were retroactively awarded the Helms National Championship and Premo-Porretta National Championship for the 1912, 1914 and 1916 seasons
  • Left UW to serve with the US Army in World War I and then spent two seasons as the head coach at Missouri, finishing 17-1 and winning the MVC title both years (1918, 1920)
    • In between those two seasons, Meanwell as the athletic director at Missouri
  • Returned to Wisconsin in 1920, coaching the Badgers for another fourteen seasons
    • Had a 246-99 record across all 20 seasons at Wisconsin and won another four Big Ten titles during his 2nd tenure
    • Served as the athletic director at Wisconsin from 1933-1935
  • Started to practice medicine in Madison, WI in 1935, which he did until his death in 1953
  • Due to his doctorate degree and short stature (5’6″), Meanwell was nicknamed “Doc,” “Little Doctor,” “Napoleon of Basketball,” “The Little Giant,” and “The Wizard”

Walter Meanwell Coaching Tree