Yale's All-Time Winningest Men's Basketball Coach
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Joe Vancisin, Yale's all-time winningest men's basketball coach, has been elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Vancisin guided the Bulldogs for 19 seasons and won three Ivy League titles.
Vancisin, who will enter as a contributor, joins players Ralph Sampson, James Worthy, Cazzie Russell and Chris Mullin, coaches Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton and fellow contributor Eddie Einhorn in the induction class of 2011. The eight will be inducted on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City as part of a three-day celebration of college basketball.
"It is always a goal of the selection committee to honor the game's great innovators and players, and every year as we look at the potential candidates, we are humbled by the way they played, coached and contributed to the great game of college basketball," said Reggie Minton, Deputy Executive Director of the NABC and chair of the Hall of Fame selection panel.
Vancisin took over at Yale in 1956-57 and promptly led the Bulldogs to the first official Ivy League title. Yale then lost to North Carolina 90-74 in the NCAA Tournament at Madison Square Garden. The Bulldogs returned to the NCAA Tournament in 1961-62, dropping a heartbreaking 92-82 decision to a Wake Forest team that went on to advance to the Final Four. Yale shared the Ivy title in 1962-63 but fell to Princeton in a playoff game.
Another notable highlight of his coaching career came when the Bulldogs captured the 1969 Rainbow Classic in Hawaii, knocking off Pete Maravich's LSU team in the championship game. Renowned as a brilliant court tactician, Vancisin helped develop Yale stars John Lee, Rick Kaminsky (both All-Americans), Larry Downs, Bill Madden, Ed Goldstone, Rick Stoner and Jim Morgan.
Vancisin, who had a 206-242 record as the Bulldogs' head coach, left Yale in 1975 to become the NABC's executive director for 17 years before his retirement in 1992. Under his leadership, the NABC debuted its college all-star game at the NCAA Final Four, elected its first African American president in Georgetown's John Thompson and adopted a code of ethics.
Vancisin's career in basketball covered more than 54 years as a player, coach and administrator. The Bridgeport, Conn., native was the captain of the state and New England championship team as a senior at Bassick High, was selected to the All State and All New England teams and was recognized as Connecticut's most outstanding scholastic player.
At Dartmouth College, where he played basketball and baseball, he was a starting guard when Dartmouth was edged in overtime in the NCAA championship game by Utah in 1944. Coach Ozzie Cowles persuaded Vancisin to remain to coach the freshman team and, after one season, he enlisted in the Air Force. After being discharged, Vancisin followed Cowles once again, serving as an assistant coach at Michigan, helping the Wolverines win the Big Ten title in 1948. He then moved on to Minnesota for seven seasons (1949 to 1956) as a basketball and baseball assistant coach as the Golden Gophers captured both the Big Ten and NCAA baseball championships in 1955.
Vancisin traveled extensively giving clinics around the world and was a member of two U.S. Olympic basketball staffs – on the gold medal winning team headed by Dean Smith in 1976 and with the 1980 team, coached by Dave Gavitt.
Vancisin was an active member of the NABC, served on the board of directors and was the NABC president in 1974. He succeeded Bill Wall as NABC executive director in 1975 and was the recipient of the John Bunn Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
In 2006 the first class was inducted into the newly formed National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. That class included the game's inventor, James Naismith and legendary coach John Wooden. Since that time, four more classes have travelled to Kansas City for a weekend of festivities. Those classes have included the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Danny Manning, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity