Butch van Breda Kolff dies; led Lakers to two Finals

ESPN: Butch van Breda Kolff, who coached the Los Angeles Lakers to two NBA finals appearances and coached Bill Bradley at Princeton, has died after a long illness.

Van Breda Kolff, 84, died Wednesday afternoon at a nursing home in Spokane, his daughter, Kristina van Breda Kolff, said. His son, Jan, also played professionally and coached at Cornell, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine and St. Bonaventure.

Butch van Breda Kolff posted a 482-272 coaching record in 28 college seasons, and was 287-316 in 10 seasons as an NBA and ABA coach. He took six teams to the NCAA Tournament at a time when tournament berths were much more scarce, and won seven conference titles.

Willem Hendrik van Breda Kolff was born Oct. 28, 1922, in Montclair, N.J. He attended Princeton University, but his college career was interrupted by duty with the Marines in World War II.

He returned from the war to become captain of Princeton’s basketball team in the 1946-47 season. He played professionally for the New York Knicks from 1946-1950.

Van Breda Kolff began his coaching career at Lafayette from 1951-55, and also coached there from 1984-88. He coached Hofstra from 1955-62, and also from 1988-94. He was coach at Princeton from 1962-67, where one of his players was Bill Bradley. He also coached the University of New Orleans from 1977-79.

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Jaime is the co-owner and Operating Director for LakerNation.com from Alhambra, CA. He's help create the official websites for Kevin Durant and Goodwin Sports. Currently, he's the Online Producer for FOX Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
  • LA_LAKER FAN

    R.I.P

  • http://theworldvoice.com LUUUUKE

    thats sad. My dad was friend with him a long time ago. He used to give him Laker tickets.

  • Kobe For Pres

    God rest his soul

  • Michael_23

    I wasn’t born yet when he coached the Lakers to the finals. Shows you how legendary and important the Laker legacy is.

    God Bless Chick, W. Chamberlain, and Butch.

  • k0be da 1 andonly

    BUt did he get us the title???????? jp

    R.I.P ……dont worry, we’ll win some more gold for ya’

  • J-Cool

    k0be da 1 andonly

    No He Didn’t Get Us The Title I Read About Him He Benched Wilt Chamberlain We Lost To The Celtics Twice When He Was There.

  • J-Cool

    I Also Read That Wilt And The Former Coach Never Gotten Along At Times

  • J-Cool

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/article_23116.shtml

    Chris Webber: CWebb is not as coveted as he had hoped he’d be when he signed with the Pistons. The same labels remain for Chris, and his desire to get a multi-year deal above the NBA minimum is what’s keeping him unsigned. The Pistons would take him back under the same terms they signed him last year, but Chris’ camp still believes he can get a multi-year deal from a contender according to league sources. Dallas and Detroit seem to be the only teams with serious interest in Webber, although he believes the Lakers are a possibility too.

  • J-Cool

    Well R.I.P Butch

  • J-Cool
  • J-Cool

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-me-vanbredakolff24aug24,1,5972075.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-nba-lakers

    But the often tempestuous relationship between Chamberlain and Van Breda Kolff reached the breaking point at a crucial moment in that championship title bid.

    Boston came back to tie the series and, in the deciding seventh game at the Forum, had a seven-point lead with just over five minutes to play.

    Then Chamberlain, a dominating 7-foot-1 center, hurt his right knee coming down with a rebound and left the game.

    Mel Counts replaced him, the Lakers rallied and, when Counts made a 10-foot jump shot, the Lakers had pulled to within one point.

    Chamberlain stepped forward and told Van Breda Kolff he was ready to return. Van Breda Kolff, who had clashed with Chamberlain earlier in the season, told his starting center he was sticking with Counts.

    “We’re doing well enough without you,” Van Breda Kolff told Chamberlain.

    Chamberlain sat down and the Lakers lost the game, and thus the championship, by two points, 108-106.

    Van Breda Kolff resigned, Chamberlain returned and helped the Lakers win an NBA title in 1972.