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RIP... Butch van breda Kolff

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by spnited, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. spnited

    spnited Active Member


    Great coach, great character.
  2. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    He was accepted and revered as "The Leader" by New Orleans Jazz fans.
  3. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Sonofabitch, Spnited beat me to it.

    They don't make 'em like this any more. Stood up to Wilt Chamberlain (no relation to Joba), fell 2 pts shy of the NBA title with Wilt on the bench, got fired, bounced around the fringes of pro ball, taught HS for a year in Mississippi and ended his career in mid-major land. A phenomenal guy to cover and a throwback to the days when coaches didn't just give lip service to the concept that preparing their players for life off the court was as or more important than anything that happened on it.

    The next coach who introduces himself by offering me a beer and half his sandwich will be the second. RIP.
  4. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Was also Pete Carrill's college coach at Lafayette and mentor (and BYH, now I know where Pete got the "Ya wanna beer," from every time you ran into him outside the gym) and, of course, coached Bill Bradley at Princeton. Bradley absolutely loved the guy.
  5. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    VBK was a jewel. Covering him spoiled me for life. I figured every coach was like that.

    Classic VBK story: At his retirement dinner in '94 (attended by, among others, Bradley and Looie C), he delivers a rambling Rizzuto-like speech that just kills. Says he's been told not to drink alcohol anymore ever since a heart scare earlier that year and goes into this rant about how much O'Douls sucks. "you guys ever have that?" he says. "It's terrible! But it's all I can have!"

    I'll imagine he's tipping back some of the real stuff right now.
  6. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    SI did a fantastic piece on him...Geez, it's got to be about 20 years ago.
  7. Blue_Water

    Blue_Water Member

    Saw him when he was coaching the tennis team in his second stint at Hofstra (they needed a coach, he played tennis, he said he'd help out). He was in his early 70s I think. Freezing cold outside. He spent most of the most of the time inside watching the NCAA basketball tournament on television. It was hysterical watching the games with him. He was complaining about Bill Raftery every time he did his little gimmicks - you know, "with the kisssss." -- "Billy, you used to be so good."
  8. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    Dang... RIP.
  9. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Only thing I ever remembered him for was being the third guy on one of those Topps 3-piece rookie cards of Magic and Dr. J. :p
  10. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    HA! That was his son, Jan.
  11. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I'll be damned. ::)
  12. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Got to talk to him a few times in the late 80s when he was at Hofstra.

    Not quite the introduction BYH had (maybe he didn't think I needed the beer, or the sandwich), but I agree: Affable, unpretentious, significant coach.
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