Charles Barkley Elected to Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Former NBA stars Charles Barkley, Joe Dumars and Dominique Wilkins, University of Connecticut Women’s Coach Geno Auriemma, former Big East Commissioner David Gavitt and Italian National Team Coach Sandro Gamba were introduced today as members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2006. The announcement was made in Indianapolis, Indiana, site of the 2006 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Auriemma, Barkley and Gavitt were elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of consideration. Wilkins, Dumars and Gamba have been named Finalists previously.

The Class of 2006 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, MA September 8 & 9, 2006. Tickets to the 2006 Enshrinement Gala and Induction Celebration are available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 781-6500.

Class of 2006 Bios

CHARLES BARKLEY, a native of Leeds, Alabama and attended Auburn University in Alabama, Barkley averaged 14.1 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game in his career at Auburn. During his career with the Philadelphia 76ers (1984-1992), the Phoenix Suns (1992-1996) and the Houston Rockets (1996-2000), Barkley was selected to 11 NBA All-Star games as well as the All-NBA First Team five times and the All-NBA Second Team five times. He won an Olympic gold medal with the 1992 United States Olympic Dream Team and was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in the 1993 season. A member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary team, Barkley averaged 22.1 points per game and almost 12 rebounds per game in his 16-year NBA career. He shares the single game record for most offensive rebounds in one quarter (11 in 1987).

GENO AURIEMMA was born in Montella, Italy and was raised in Pennsylvania where he was a graduate of Montegomery County Community College in Blue Bell (1974) and West Chester State College in Pennsylvania. Auriemma began his coaching career as an assistant girl’s coach at Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, Penn. (1976-1978) and went on to coach as an assistant women’s coach at St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, PA) (1978-1979), assistant boy’s coach at Bishop Kenrick High School (Norristown, PA) (1979-1981), and assistant women’s coach at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia (1981-1985). In 1985 he became the women’s coach at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut and just completed his 21st season. He has led the Huskies to an amazing five National Championships, eight Final Four appearances and two undefeated seasons. His teams have compiled more than 570 wins at UConn, where he has been named National Coach of the Year five times and captured 14 Big East regular season and 12 Big East tournament titles. He has guided his team to ten 30-win seasons, 17 straight NCAA tournament appearances and an NCAA record 70 straight wins. Auriemma has also been the assistant coach of the United States gold medal team in the 2000 Olympics, head coach of the United States gold medal team at the 2000 Junior World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Argentina, head coach of the United States bronze medal team at the 2001 FIBA Junior World Championship in Czech Republic. He is enshrined in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (2002) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2005).

JOE DUMARS, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, played his entire professional career for the Detroit Pistons, becoming a key component of the squad that went on to win back-to-back NBA Championships (1989 & 1990). After being drafted by the Pistons out of McNeese State, he immediately made a name for himself as a defensive stopper and steady offensive performer in the NBA by being named an NBA All-Rookie Selection (1986). His defensive skills were honored by being named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times (1989, 1990, 1992, 1993), and his overall play was rewarded by being named a six-time NBA All-Star and the MVP of the 1989 NBA Finals. Dumars is currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons and is credited for assembling the team which won the 2004 NBA Championship.

SANDRO GAMBA, a native of Milan, Italy, has coached in Europe for over 30 years,; including Italian Division I professional league teams Simmenthal (1965-73), Ignis (1973-77), Turin (1977-1980) and the Italian National Team (1979-1992). Gamba has coached four Italian Olympic teams (1980, 1984, 1988, 1992), and led the 1980 squad to a silver medal. His Italian professional teams have won five Italian League championships, a European Championship, a Champions Cup and Cup of Cups title. In addition, his national squads captured a gold medal at the 1983 European Championship.

DAVID GAVITT is a native of Westerly, Rhode Island and began his contributions to the game as a head coach at Providence College where he would lead the team to eight consecutive 20-win seasons, five NCAA Tournament appearances and one Final Four. He served as the Chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee from 1982 to 1984 and is responsible for the expansion of the tournament to 64 teams, the use of domed stadiums for the Final Four, and expanded the CBS television coverage with the first contract. Gavitt was the president of USA Basketball from 1988 to 1992. He is the 1995 recipient of the Conference Commissioners Association Merit Award and served as the Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

DOMINIQUE WILKINS was born in Paris, France before coming to the United States and becoming a Parade High School All-American, collegiate star at the University of Georgia and an NBA All-Star known for his amazing offensive power and high-flying above-the-rim game. During his career with the Atlanta Hawks (1982-1994), LA Clippers (1994), Boston Celtics (1994-95), San Antonio Spurs (1996-97) and Orlando Magic (1998-99), Wilkins was a nine-time NBA All-Star (1986-1994), a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion and named to the All-NBA first team in 1986. Wilkins is one of only three Atlanta Hawks to have his jersey (21) retired, and his incredible dunks and aerial acrobatics earned him the nickname “The Human Highlight Film.”

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate, men and women. For more information, please visit our website at www.hoophall.com or call 1-877-4-HOOPLA.