Pete Newell, who led the Bears to their only hoops title in 1959, passed away today at the age of 93.
Some could argue that 1959 might have been the best year of Cal athletics. Newell and Cal made it to the finals in '60 before losing to Ohio St. Ohio St.'s coach (Fred Taylor) used a defense Newell had willingly taught him a year earlier
Mr. Newell had one more coaching stop, however. He led the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, which included West, Robertson and Lucas, to a 1960 gold medal.
That completed a "Triple Crown" only two other coaches have achieved - NIT, NCAA and Olympic titles.
He also coached the '60 Olympic team to the gold medal, completing the coaching triple crown with an NIT (USF), national championship (Cal), and an Olympic gold medal.
The Bay Area honors Newell with the "Pete Newell Challenge," a tournament held annually in late December.
Newell stopped coaching at the age of 44, citing stress-related health concerns as his primary reason.
Miraculously, he continued coaching top amateur and professional bigs in his Big Man's camps. Along the way he elicited glowing comments like this from Shaquille O'Neal: "He's the best teacher there is."