Arnold (Red) Auerbach
1959 ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Arnold "Red" Auerbach was a defensive specialist for Colonials' basketball at GW from 1937 through 1940. Auerbach earned accolades as a leading scorer during his senior year, when he served as team captain and scored 162 points. The three-year letterman, who scored 334 career points with the Colonials, received a B.A. in education in 1940, a M.Ed. in 1941 and an honorary Doctor of Public Service in 1993, all from GW. He remained a GW basketball season ticket holder until his death in 2006, and a banner and red seat honor him at the newly renovated Smith Center.
Auerbach spent the first three seasons of his professional career with the Washington Capitals of the Basketball Association of America (precursor to the NBA), followed by one season coaching the Tri-Cities Hawks. He became head coach of the Boston Celtics in 1950, winning nine championships, including eight consecutive. He made NBA history by drafting the league's first African American player, Chuck Cooper. Auerbach retired from coaching in 1966, and at that time had won more games (938) than any other coach in history. He then served as president and front office executive of the Celtics until his death. In 1968, Auerbach was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. In 1980, he gained top honors as the Greatest Coach in NBA History, as well the league's Executive of the Year. In 1985, the Boston Celtics retired the #2 jersey in Auerbach's honor; in 1991, he was inducted into the American Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. And in 2006, he was selected as one of the NCAA's 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes.
Auerbach authored seven books on basketball, including best-selling Basketball for the Player, the Fan and Coach. A life-sized sculpture of Auerbach remains at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Auerbach died at age 89 on October 28, 2006 and was preceded in death by wife Dorothy, also a GW alum. They had two daughters, Nancy and Randy.