Press Maravich

From ClemsonWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Press Maravich was Clemson's fourteenth basketball coach, 1956-1962, and the first one to lead the Tigers in the championship game of the ACC Tournament when the team made a dream run in 1962 during Maravich's final year at Clemson. He defeated four top-20 teams in his career, the first Clemson coach to beat a ranked opponent. The first of these came in his first year, a 96-94 overtime win against eighth-ranked North Carolina State, played at home on December 11, 1956.

Early life and career

Petar "Press" Maravich (August 29, 1915 - April 15, 1987), a first-generation American of Serbian descent, was a popular college basketball and professional basketball coach. He received the nickname "Press" for always having gossip-styled updates in his hometown of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh suburb. Maravich graduated from Davis & Elkins College in 1941 and was a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. Maravich also served in the United States Naval Air Corps during World War II.

Maravich had a record of 55-96 at Clemson and his best year came in 1961-1962 when he took Clemson to the Finals of the ACC Tournament. Clemson beat a sixth-ranked Duke team in the semifinals of that tournament, 77-72, on March 2, 1962, then the highest-ranked win in Clemson history. He still holds (in 2009) the Clemson record for winning percentage in overtime games, 3-0, in 1956-1957, and he also had a 23-19 career mark in games decided by five points or fewer, also a Clemson record.

Maravich left Clemson and became an assistant coach at N.C. State before moving up to the head coaching position when Everett Case retired. Maravich later became head coach at Louisiana State University where he coached his son, Pete, who went on to become the leading scorer in NCAA history. (Even in 2010, "Pistol Pete" is still the all-time leading National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game.)

Press Maravich's final coaching job was as head of the Appalachian State Mountaineers for three years, 1972-1975, after which he retired.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer in the spring of 1985, he died in Highland Park Hospital, Covington, Louisiana, shortly before 6:30 p.m. on April 15, 1987. Sadly, his talented son Pete would follow him only nine months later on January 5, 1988, during a pick-up basketball game, of a previously undetected congenital heart defect, age 40. Pete attended Daniel High School.

Preceded by: Banks McFadden Clemson University Basketball Coaches Succeeded by: Bobby Roberts