Clair Bee

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Clair Bee
Clair Bee headshot.jpg
Sport(s) Basketball, football, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1896-03-02)March 2, 1896
Grafton, West Virginia
Died May 20, 1983(1983-05-20) (aged 87)
Cleveland, Ohio
Playing career
1922–1925 Waynesburg (football, baseball, tennis)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1929?–1930? Rider
1940 LIU Brooklyn
1925–1926 High school
1928–1931 Rider
1931–1943 LIU Brooklyn
1945–1951 LIU Brooklyn
1952–1954 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)
1929 Rider
1934–1939 LIU Brooklyn
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1929–1931 Rider
1954–1967 New York Military Academy
Head coaching record
Tournaments NIT: 6–5 (.545)
Accomplishments and honors
1 Helms National (1939)
1 Premo-Porretta National (1939)
2 NIT (1939, 1941)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1968 (profile)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Clair Francis Bee (March 2, 1896 – May 20, 1983) was an American basketball coach, who led the team at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York to undefeated seasons in 1936 and 1939, as well as two National Invitation Tournament titles in 1939 and 1941. He was born in Grafton, West Virginia, and was a graduate of Waynesburg University (then Waynesburg College) where he played football, baseball, and tennis.

Bee's teams won 95 percent of their games from 1931 to 1951, including 43 in a row from 1935 to 1937.[1] Bee holds the Division I NCAA record for highest winning percentage, winning 82.6% of the games he was head coach. [2] Bee resigned in 1951 after several of his players were implicated in the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal. LIU shut down its athletic program shortly afterward.

Bee also coached the football team at LIU until it was disbanded in 1940.[3]

He coached the National Basketball Association's Baltimore Bullets from 1952 to 1954, amassing a 34-116 record under his tenure.

Bee was known as the "Innovator". His contributions to the game of basketball include the 1-3-1 zone defense and the three-second rule. Bee also served as co-host of the early NBC sports-oriented television program "Campus Hoopla" on WNBT from 1946 to 1947.

His influence on the game also extended to strategies sports camps (Camp All-America), (Kutsher's Sports Academy), writing technical coaching books, and conducting coaching clinics around the world. By the time he left coaching in the 1950s, Bee had already begun writing the Chip Hilton Sports Series for younger readers.

Bee was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame in 1968. The Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award is awarded every year to a coach who makes an outstanding contribution to the game of college basketball, and the Chip Hilton Player of the Year Award is awarded to a men's basketball player.

In 1968, he cofounded the Kutsher's Sports Academy.[4]

One of Bee's grandfathers was Ephraim Bee, a member of the first West Virginia Legislature.

Head coaching record[edit]



Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Rider Roughriders (Independent) (1929?–1930?)
1929 Rider  ?–?
1930 Rider  ?–?
Rider:  ?–?
Long Island Blackbirds (Independent) (1940)
1940 Long Island 5–1
Long Island: 5–1
Total:  ?–?


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Rider Roughriders (Independent) (1928–1931)
1928–29 Rider 19–3
1929–30 Rider 17–3
1930–31 Rider 17–2
Rider: 53–8 (.869)
Long Island Blackbirds (Independent) (1931–1943)
1931–32 Long Island 16–4
1932–33 Long Island 6–11
1933–34 Long Island 26–1
1934–35 Long Island 24–2
1935–36 Long Island 25–0 Premo-Porretta National Champions[5]
1936–37 Long Island 28–3
1937–38 Long Island 23–5 NIT Quarterfinals
1938–39 Long Island 23–0 Helms Foundation National Champions
NIT Champions
1939–40 Long Island 19–4 NIT Quarterfinals
1940–41 Long Island 25–2 NIT Champions
1941–42 Long Island 25–3 NIT Quarterfinals
1942–43 Long Island 13–6
1945–46 Long Island 14–9
1946–47 Long Island 17–5 NIT Quarterfinals
1947–48 Long Island 17–4
1948–49 Long Island 18–12
1949–50 Long Island 20–5 NIT Quarterfinals
1950–51 Long Island 20–4
Long Island: 360–80 (.818)
Total: 413–88 (.824)

      National champion         Postseason invitational 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


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Rider Roughriders (Independent) (1929)
1929 Rider 3–2
Rider: 3–2 (.600)
Long Island Blackbirds (Independent) (1934–1939)
Long Island: 75–22–4 (.762)
Total: 78–24–4 (.755)

      National champion         Postseason invitational 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



Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
BAL 1952–53 70 16 54 .229 4th in Eastern 2 0 2 .000 Lost in Div. Semifinals
BAL 1953–54 72 16 56 .222 5th in Eastern Missed Playoffs
Career 142 32 110 .225 2 0 2 .000


  1. ^ LIU streaks
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Long Island University Blackbirds All-Time Football Records
  4. ^ Basketball Hall of Fame bio
  5. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. p. 544. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2. 

External links[edit]