Jack Friel

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Jack Friel
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1898-08-26)August 26, 1898
Waterville, Washington, U.S.
Died December 12, 1995(1995-12-12) (aged 97)
Pullman, Washington
Alma mater Washington State
Playing career
1920–23 Washington State
Position(s) Forward
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1923–25
1925–28
1928–58
Colville H.S. (WA)
North Central H.S. (WA)
Washington State
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1963–71 Big Sky – commissioner
Head coaching record
Overall 495–377 (.568) – (college)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Pacific Coast: 1941

John Bryan "Jack" Friel (August 26, 1898[1] – December 12, 1995) was an American college basketball coach, the head coach of the Washington State Cougars for 30 seasons, from 1928 to 1958. He holds the school record for victories by a men's basketball coach with 495, and led Washington State to the 1941 NCAA Tournament championship game.[2] He was later the first commissioner of the Big Sky Conference.

Early years[edit]

Born in Waterville, Washington, Friel enrolled at Washington State College in 1916, then served in Europe during World War I. He returned to Pullman after the war and was the captain of the basketball team, earning all-conference honors in 1922.[2][3][4] He claimed six varsity letters, and in 18 starts as a baseball pitcher had a win–loss record of 15–1.[4]

High school coach[edit]

Following graduation in 1923, Friel coached high school basketball, first at Colville, then at North Central in Spokane, winning the state title in his third and final season at North Central.[5]

Washington State[edit]

He became the head basketball coach at his alma mater in 1928, and his team posted a 9–14 record in his first season. Washington State increased its victory total each of the next three seasons, winning 22 games in 1931–32. The Cougars won at least 20 games in 10 of Friel's 30 seasons as head coach, and had 21 winning seasons. The 1940–41 team was Friel's only one to make the NCAA Tournament.[6] One of three Washington State teams to win a Pacific Coast Conference divisional championship under Friel,[7] the 1940–41 Cougars won the conference title, and won two games in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the final, where they lost 39–34 to Wisconsin.[6][8][9] Friel has been credited as helping to change free throw rules in college basketball.[10] In addition to his duties as basketball coach, Friel was Washington State's baseball coach from 1943 to 1945 and a college football official; he was originally selected to officiate the 1942 Rose Bowl, but his basketball schedule prevented him from serving as referee.[11]

After the early 1950s, his Cougar teams struggled, failing to post a winning record following a 19–16 mark in 1951–52;[6] in November 1957, Friel announced that he would retire at the end of the season.[12] Friel had the eighth-most wins among Division I men's college basketball coaches when he retired.[13] He remained with the school into the 1960s, continuing as golf coach and in the physical education program.[5][11]

The court inside Beasley Coliseum, the Cougars' home arena, was named after Friel in April 1977, as announced by university President Glenn Terrell at a meeting of the board of regents.[14] The following year, Friel was among the first to be inducted into Washington State's Athletic Hall of Fame.[7]

Conference work[edit]

Friel was a supervisor for the Pacific-10 Conference's basketball officiating bureau and spent eight years as the first commissioner of the Big Sky Conference, beginning in 1963.[5][7][11] Into the 1980s, Friel continued working for the Pac-10, evaluating officials.[11]

Death[edit]

Friel died at the age of 97 in Pullman on December 12, 1995, due to pneumonia.[3] In 2003, he was inducted into the Pacific-10 (now Pacific-12) Conference Men's Basketball Hall of Honor.[10][15] That summer, his widow Catherine died at age 101.[16]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Washington State Cougars (Pacific Coast Conference) (1928–1958)
1928–29 Washington State 9–14 5–5 3rd
1929–30 Washington State 14–12 9–7 2nd
1930–31 Washington State 18–7 10–6 2nd
1931–32 Washington State 22–5 11–5 2nd
1932–33 Washington State 17–8 8–8 3rd
1933–34 Washington State 14–11 6–10 4th
1934–35 Washington State 12–12 6–10 4th
1935–36 Washington State 22–8 8–8 3rd
1936–37 Washington State 24–8 11–5 1st
1937–38 Washington State 19–11 12–8 T-3rd
1938–39 Washington State 23–10 8–8 3rd
1939–40 Washington State 23–10 9–7 3rd
1940–41 Washington State 26–6 13–3 1st NCAA Runner-up
1941–42 Washington State 21–8 9–7 3rd
1942–43 Washington State 19–11 9–7 3rd
1943–44 Washington State 8–19 4–12 5th
1944–45 Washington State 23–13 11–5 T-1st
1945–46 Washington State 16–13 5–11 5th
1946–47 Washington State 23–10 11–5 2nd
1947–48 Washington State 19–10 9–7 3rd
1948–49 Washington State 21–9 8–8 2nd
1949–50 Washington State 19–13 11–5 1st
1950–51 Washington State 17–15 7–9 3rd
1951–52 Washington State 19–16 6–10 4th
1952–53 Washington State 7–27 3–13 5th
1953–54 Washington State 10–17 4–12 5th
1954–55 Washington State 11–15 5–11 T-4th
1955–56 Washington State 4–22 2–14 9th
1956–57 Washington State 8–18 4–12 T-7th
1957–58 Washington State 7–19 3–13 9th
Washington State: 495–377 (.568) 227–251 (.475)
Total: 495–377 (.568)

      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]

  1. ^ "Men's Basketball Coaches Career" (Search for Jack Friel under Player/Coach Search). National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Four Fathers of Cougar Basketball: Jack Friel". Washington State University. January 18, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Former Cougar Coach Friel Dies at 97". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. December 14, 1995. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Blanchette, John (December 14, 1995). "Death takes Jack Friel". The Spokesman-Review. p. C1. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "Jack Friel Named Big Sky Executive". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 7, 1963. p. 8. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Jack Friel". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Seven Cougars in Hall of Fame". Spokane Daily Chronicle. October 3, 1978. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  8. ^ ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia. New York City: ESPN Books. 2009. p. 492. ISBN 0-345-51392-4. 
  9. ^ McDonough, Ted (December 13, 1995). "WSU's winningest coach, Friel, dies at 97". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1A. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Abdul-Jabber, Winter among Pac-10 inductees". ESPN. Associated Press. November 6, 2002. Archived from the original on May 11, 2006. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d Missildine, Harry (December 15, 1995). "Jack Friel: Time never passed him". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Cougar Hoop Coach to Retire". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. November 27, 1957. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  13. ^ Blanchette, John (December 16, 1995). "It's High Time Hall Of Fame Welcomes Friel". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ "It's now 'Friel Court'". The Spokesman-Review. April 30, 1977. p. 19. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Steve Puidokas to be inducted into Pac-12 Hall of Honor". Washington State University. February 8, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Catherine Friel: 101, Pullman resident". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. July 28, 2003. p. 2A. Retrieved April 29, 2012.