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Philipp D. Woolpert (December 15, 1915 – May 5, 1987) was an American basketball coach, best known as the head coach of the University of San Francisco Dons in the 1950s. He led them to consecutive national championships in 1955 and 1956.
|Born||December 15, 1915|
|Died||May 5, 1987 (aged 71)|
|Alma mater||Loyola University
Los Angeles Junior College
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1946–1950||St. Ignatius Prep|
|1961–1962||San Francisco Saints|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
63–29 (high school)
|Tournaments||13–2 (NCAA / NCAA University Division)|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|2 NCAA Tournament (1955, 1956)|
4 CBA/WCAC regular season (1955–1958)
|2× UPI Coach of the Year (1955, 1956)|
4× WCAC Coach of the Year (1955–1958)
|Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 1992 (profile)
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Born in Danville, Kentucky, Woolpert was raised in Los Angeles, graduating from Manual Arts High School in 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression. He attended L.A. Junior College and Loyola University, where he played basketball for three years, was initiated into the Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity, and graduated in 1940 with a degree in political science.
In 1946, Woolpert was hired as basketball coach for St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, where he posted a 63–29 (.685) record in his four years as coach. Upon Pete Newell's departure for Michigan State University, the University of San Francisco hired Woolpert to succeed Newell. He assumed both the posts of men's basketball coach and athletic director.
During his tenure at USF, Woolpert posted a 153–78 (.662) record, including a 60-game win streak that at the time was the longest in college basketball, surpassed later by John Wooden's 88 straight wins at UCLA. Woolpert's teams, anchored by Bill Russell, K. C. Jones, Gene Brown, and Mike Farmer, were known for their defense and held opponents below 60 points on 47 different occasions. USF won the NCAA Tournament in 1955 and 1956, and finished third in 1957. At the time the youngest college basketball coach to win a national championship, Woolpert also won Coach of the Year honors in 1955 and 1956.
After briefly coaching the San Francisco Saints of the American Basketball League, Woolpert returned to the college ranks in 1962, this time with the University of San Diego. While at USD, Woolpert posted a 90–90 record and served as both men's basketball coach and athletic director.
Woolpert retired from coaching in 1969, and later settled down on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and became a school bus driver in Sequim. He died of lung cancer at age 71 at his home in 1987.
Head coaching recordEdit
|San Francisco Dons (Independent) (1950–1952)|
|San Francisco Dons (California Basketball Association / West Coast Athletic Conference) (1952–1959)|
|1954–55||San Francisco||28–1||12–0||1st||NCAA Champion|
|1955–56||San Francisco||29–0||14–0||1st||NCAA Champion|
|1956–57||San Francisco||21–7||12–2||1st||NCAA Third Place|
|1957–58||San Francisco||25–2||12–0||1st||NCAA Sweet 16|
|San Francisco:||153–78 (.662)||67–17 (.785)|
|San Diego Toreros (Independent) (1962–1969)|
|San Diego:||90–90 (.500)|
Postseason invitational champion
- Johnson, William (April 22, 1968). "Triumph in obscurity". Sports Illustrated. p. 68.
- Johnson, Roy S. (November 26, 1981). "Phil Woolpert still shapes the lives of the young". New York Times. p. D15.
- Cour, Jim (December 7, 1982). "The tail should never wag the dog". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 21.
- "Phil Woolpert is cancer victim at 71; coached USF to pair of NCAA titles". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. May 7, 1987. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- "Miscellany: Phil Woolpert". Spokane Chronicle. May 6, 1987. p. D3.