Philly basketball legend Tom Gola has died at the age of 81. He took La Salle to an NCAA championship in 1954 and the Philadelphia Warriors to an NBA championship during his rookie season. He is one of just two men to ever win an NCAA, NIT and NBA title.
La Salle went 102-19 over the course of Gola’s playing career and was coached by the man from 1968-70. The 1968-69 team lost only one game; many local basketball fans consider it the best college basketball team ever to come from Philadelphia. La Salle’s home arena was named after him in 1998.
“Tom Gola was a Philadelphia icon and a treasure for La Salle. His contributions as a player and coach provided La Salle with a true national profile,” Tom Brennan, Explorers athletic director, said in a statement. “Tom’s athletic accomplishments and athletic career were second to none.”
He is survived by his wife Caroline.