|Sport(s)||Football, basketball, baseball|
May 28, 1888|
Deadwood, South Dakota
|Died||January 20, 1958
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Overall||371–152 (college basketball)
163–158–7 (college baseball)
|Accomplishments and honors|
1 Helms Athletic Foundation National (1932)
11 Big Ten
|Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1960 (profile)
|College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Ward Louis "Piggy" Lambert (May 28, 1888 – January 20, 1958) was an American basketball and baseball coach. He served as the head basketball coach at Purdue University during the 1916–17 season and from 1918 to 1946. Lambert was also the head baseball coach at Purdue in 1917, from 1919 to 1935, and from 1945 to 1946. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960.
Early life and playing career
Lambert was born in Deadwood, South Dakota. In 1890, Lambert and his family moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana. He played basketball and baseball at Crawfordsville High School and Wabash College, both under coach Ralph Jones, who himself went on to coach Purdue. Despite his height (5'6"), Lambert led Wabash in scoring his sophomore year—leading to his nickname "Piggy" for hogging the ball. Another telling states that, while playing baseball at Wabash, Lambert used his position as shortstop to hog the ball. He graduated from Wabash College in 1911.
Lambert began his coaching career at Lebanon High School from 1912 to 1916, amassing a record of 69-18 (.793) a Sectional titles and 3 other post-season appearances. Lambert coached Purdue University (1916–17, 1918–1946) to a 371–152 record in 29 seasons, including 11 Big Ten Conference titles. His teams were noted for their speed and effective use of fast breaks, which he developed. Among his players were Stretch Murphy and John Wooden. Lambert missed the 1917–18 season to serve in the United States Army during World War I. Meanwhile J. J. Maloney, an attorney from Crawfordsville, Indiana, filled in and guided the Boilermakers to an 11–5 record. Lambert's 1932 team were national champions, as determined by a panel vote rather than an NCAA Tournament, which began in 1939. He coached 16 All-Americans and 31 first team All-Big Ten selections. Lambert Fieldhouse (originally known as Purdue Fieldhouse), the facility used for home basketball games prior to the construction of Mackey Arena, was renamed in his honor.
Lambert also coached Purdue's baseball team in 1917, from 1919 to 1935, and from 1945 to 1946. Lambert Field, Purdue's former baseball stadium, is also named for Lambert. He was listed as a scout for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball in 1948.
Administrative career, writing, and honors
Following his retirement from Purdue, he served as Commissioner of the National Basketball League during the final three years (1946–1949) of that league's tenure and was instrumental in its merger with the Basketball Association of America to form the National Basketball Association.
Lambert wrote Practical Basketball in 1932, one of the first "bibles" of the game. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
- "Lebanon High School Basketball, 1910-2010" (PDF). Lebanon Public Library.
- Lambert Field (Baseball) at purduesports.com, URL accessed October 24, 2009. Archived 10/24/09
- Spink, J.G. Taylor, ed., 1948 Official Baseball Guide and Record Book. St. Louis: The Sporting News