C. M. Newton

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C. M. Newton
Sport(s) Basketball, Baseball
Biographical details
Born (1930-02-02) February 2, 1930 (age 84)
Rockwood, Tennessee, USA
Playing career
1949–1951 Kentucky
Position(s) Guard, Pitcher
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1956-1968
1968–1980
1981–1989
Transylvania
Alabama
Vanderbilt
Head coaching record
Overall 340–238 (.588)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2000

Charles Martin "C. M." Newton (born February 2, 1930 in Rockwood, Tennessee[1]) is a retired American basketball player, coach and administrator. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a Contributor on October 13, 2000.

College career[edit]

Newton was a two-sport player at the University of Kentucky, playing both baseball and basketball. As a reserve guard/forward, he was part of the Wildcats' national championship team in 1951 under legendary coach Adolph Rupp, though Newton himself averaged only 1.2 points per game.[2] As a pitcher he helped the Wildcats baseball team reach the NCAA tournament and, after college, signed a minor league baseball contract with a New York Yankees farm system. Newton finally gave up baseball after the births of his two daughters.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

Newton's coaching career spanned 30 years and three institutions.

Transylvania University[edit]

By 1956, Newton had landed his first basketball coaching job at Transylvania University (then Transylvania College) in Lexington, Kentucky on a recommendation by Rupp.[4] Newton compiled a 169–137 record at Transylvania,[5] leading them to the 1963 NAIA Tournament. While at Transylvania he recruited the school's first black player.[3]

Newton was inducted into Transylvania's Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1992.[6]

University of Alabama[edit]

In 1968 legendary football coach and athletic director Paul "Bear" Bryant, who had been the coach for the University of Kentucky's football team during Newton's playing days, called Rupp looking for someone to turn around the University of Alabama's basketball program. Rupp recommended Newton, who after twelve seasons at Transylvania, left Lexington for Tuscaloosa.[3]

In twelve seasons at Alabama, Newton led the Crimson Tide to a record of 211–123. Under Newton the Crimson Tide became the only school besides the University of Kentucky to win three straight Southeastern Conference titles (1974, 1975, and 1976).[3] Newton also guided Alabama to four NIT and two NCAA tournament berths, prompting the school to name a recruiting suite in his honor in 2006.[7]

Just as he did at Transylvania, Newton recruited Alabama's first black player, Wendell Hudson, in 1969, integrating his second team in as many coaching stops.[1]

Vanderbilt University[edit]

After resigning from the University of Alabama in 1980 to become assistant commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, Newton had no intentions of coaching again until he was approached by Roy Kramer, the athletics director for Vanderbilt University. After only one year as assistant commissioner, Newton became coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores,[3] leading them to a 129–115 mark in eight seasons[5] and berths in the NCAA tournament in 1988 and 1989.[1]

Administrative career[edit]

NCAA Rules Committee[edit]

From 1979 to 1985 Newton served as chair of the NCAA Rules Committee. During his tenure the NCAA adopted the shot clock, the three-point line, and the coaches' box.[1]

University of Kentucky[edit]

In 1989 Newton's alma mater, the University of Kentucky, persuaded him to replace athletic director Cliff Hagan and help navigate the stormy waters of an NCAA probation.[8] Newton's first move as AD was to hire then-New York Knicks coach Rick Pitino.[9] The Wildcats bounced back from their probation with a core of mostly Kentucky-born players known affectionately to fans as "The Unforgettables." The group — consisting of Sean Woods, Deron Feldhaus, Richie Farmer and John Pelphrey — lost in overtime in the East Regional final of the NCAA tournament to the Duke Blue Devils in a game many consider the greatest college basketball game ever played.[10]

Newton also hired Bernadette Mattox, the university's first black women's basketball coach in 1995. In 1997 he hired Orlando "Tubby" Smith, the university's first black men's basketball coach, to replace Pitino, who had accepted a head coaching job with the NBA's Boston Celtics.[1]

On December 18, 1999, Newton was presented with the Annie Wittenmyer White Ribbon Award by the Women's Christian Temperance Union for refusing to allow alcohol advertising at university sporting events.[11]

In 2000 the University of Kentucky officially named its football playing field at Commonwealth Stadium the C.M. Newton Field.

USA Basketball[edit]

From 1992 to 1996, Newton served as the president of USA Basketball. It was on Newton's watch that the decision was made to allow professional basketball players to represent the United States in the Summer Olympics. This decision gave rise to the 1992 "Dream Team".

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC) (1968–1980)
1968–1969 Alabama 4–20 1–17 10th
1969–1970 Alabama 8–18 5–13 9th
1970–1971 Alabama 10–16 6–12 T–8th
1971–1972 Alabama 18–8 13–5 3rd
1972–1973 Alabama 22–8 13–5 T–2nd NIT Semifinal
1973–1974 Alabama 22–4 15–3 T–1st
1974–1975 Alabama 22–5 15–3 T–1st NCAA 1st Round
1975–1976 Alabama 23–5 15–3 1st NCAA 2nd Round
1976–1977 Alabama 25–6 14–4 3rd NIT Semifinal
1977–1978 Alabama 17–10 11–7 4th
1978–1979 Alabama 22–11 11–7 T–3rd NIT Semifinal
1979–1980 Alabama 18–12 12–6 T–3rd NIT 2nd Round
Alabama: 211–123 131–85
Vanderbilt Commodores (SEC) (1981–1989)
1981–1982 Vanderbilt 15–13 7–11 T–7th
1982–1983 Vanderbilt 19–14 9–9 T–4th NIT 2nd Round
1983–1984 Vanderbilt 14–15 8–10 T–7th
1984–1985 Vanderbilt 11–17 4–14 10th
1985–1986 Vanderbilt 13–15 7–11 7th
1986–1987 Vanderbilt 18–16 7–11 T–8th NIT 3rd Round
1987–1988 Vanderbilt 20–11 10–8 T–4th NCAA Sweet 16
1988–1989 Vanderbilt 19–14 12–6 T–2nd NCAA 1st Round
Vanderbilt: 129–115 64–80
Total: 340–238

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

References[edit]