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Old 08-23-2007, 04:04 PM   #1
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Default Ex-Lakers coach van Breda Kolff dies at 84

Associated Press, Updated 11 minutes ago

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Butch van Breda Kolff, who coached the Los Angeles Lakers to two NBA finals appearances and won 482 games as a college coach, 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.

Butch van Breda Kolff often wore his emotions on his sleeve while coaching. (FILE / Associated Press)

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 College 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.

In the professional ranks, he coached the Los Angeles Lakers from 1967-69, twice taking them to the finals. He also coached the Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, the Memphis Tams of the ABA, the New Orleans Jazz and the New Orleans Pride of Women's Basketball League.

As coach of the Lakers, he posted records of 52-30 and 55-27 with a team that included Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. They lost to the Boston Celtics both times in the finals. He was fired after Chamberlain took himself out of the seventh game of the 1969 finals with an injury. Replacement Mel Counts played so well that van Breda Kolff declined to put Chamberlain back in, but the Lakers ended up losing the title game.

Van Breda Kolff was married to Florence. The couple had two other daughters, Karen and Kaatje
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