Pete Newell Passes Away
Former Lakers General Manager Pete Newell, one of the most influential figures in the history of basketball, passed away on Monday at the age of 93.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pete Newell earlier today,” said Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. “Pete was one of the most brilliant teachers and coaches the game has ever known, and was also an exceptional front office man as the Lakers General Manager from 1972-76. He was a great help to me when I first purchased the Lakers and he was very generous with his time and counsel. In addition to his great contributions to the basketball world, Pete was also one of the finest gentlemen we’ve known. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the Newell family.”
Before his tenure as Lakers GM, Newell had a highly successful college coaching career that included stints at the University of San Francisco, Michigan State University and the University of California, Berkeley, where he led his team to the National Title in 1959. Newell was also responsible for perhaps the world’s most important basketball camp, his highly successful and influential “Big Man Camp” (which became known as “Pete Newell’s Big Man Camp”) that was first made popular by former Laker Kermit Washington’s improvement. Bigs such as Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal participated in Newell’s camp, which each year boasted the best big men in the world.
In addition to his work with the Lakers, Newell served as a team executive or scout with the Golden State Warriors, and Houston Rockets. He also coached the 1960 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team to a gold medal, making him one of only three coaches to win NCAA, NIT and Olympic titles.
For his outstanding contributions to the game, Newell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979, and since the year 2000, the NCAA bestows the “Pete Newell Big Man Award” to the top frontcourt player in the country.