Dean Meminger

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Dean Meminger
Personal information
BornMay 13, 1948
Walterboro, South Carolina
DiedAugust 23, 2013(2013-08-23) (aged 65)
Harlem, New York
Listed height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Listed weight175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High schoolRice (New York City, New York)
CollegeMarquette (1968–1971)
NBA draft1971 / Round: 1 / Pick: 16th overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
Playing career1971–1977
PositionPoint guard
Career history
19711974New York Knicks
19741976Atlanta Hawks
1976–1977New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points2,552 (6.1 ppg)
Rebounds1,086 (2.6 rpg)
Assists1,046 (2.5 apg)
Stats at

Dean Peter Meminger (May 13, 1948 – August 23, 2013) was an American basketball player and coach.[1]

Early life[edit]

Meminger was born in Walterboro, South Carolina, and came to Harlem, New York, with his family as a seventh-grader. He starred at Rice High School in New York City as well as making a name for himself on the playgrounds at West 135th Street.[2]

College career[edit]

Meminger attended Marquette University, where he played for coach Al McGuire with the then-Warriors. He helped Marquette win the 1970 National Invitational Tournament. Marquette's 1970 team was ranked 8th in the country and was invited to the NCAA tournament. Following a dispute whether to play in the Mid-East or Mid-West Regional, Marquette declined the bid and opted to play in the NIT, where the team outclassed the field. The NCAA was so incensed by Marquette, it instituted a rule that forced an NCAA Division I team to accept an NCAA bid over an NIT bid. A subsequent antitrust case brought by the NIT against the NCAA over this issue was later settled out of court. Meminger was also the MVP of the 1970 National Invitation Tournament, in which Marquette beat Pete Maravich and LSU 101-79 in the semi-finals before defeating St. John's 65-53 in the title game. He never during varsity career lost a home game.

NBA career[edit]

Meminger was drafted in the first round (16th overall) of the 1971 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, with whom he played from 1971 to 1974 and 1976-1977.[3] As a rookie reserve guard in 1971-72, Meminger averaged 4.6 points in 15 minutes per game, followed by 5.7 points in 18 minutes per game in 1972-73. In that season, Meminger helped the Knicks win their second-ever NBA championship. Playing on a team which featured star guards Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe and Dick Barnett, in Game 7 of the 1973 Eastern Conference finals he replaced Monroe in the second quarter, frustrated the hot-shooting Boston Celtics guard Jo Jo White and scored 13 points. After knocking the Celtics out of the playoffs, the Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the title.[4] In the postseason, Meminger played in all 17 games for the Knicks, making 31 of 56 field goal attempts for a team-leading .554 percentage.[5]

In Meminger's third season of 1973-74, his playing time increased to 26.7 minutes per game as he averaged 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game (both career highs) and 2.1 assists.

In 1974-75, Meminger played for the Atlanta Hawks, averaging career highs of 27.2 minutes, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in addition to 7.9 points per game.[5] In 1975-76 with the Hawks, his fifth NBA season, in just over 20 minutes per game he averaged [6]

The 1976-77 season was his sixth and final NBA season as he returned to the Knicks and averaged 7.9 minutes per game.

Coaching career[edit]

Meminger was head coach of the New York Stars in the Women's Professional Basketball League (abbreviated WBL), which played three seasons from the fall of 1978 to the spring of 1981.[7][8] Meminger, with rookie trainer Rick Capistran at his side, guided the Stars to the league championship during the 1979-80 season and was named the league's coach of the year. The team's great success, however, was not enough to save the Stars, which lost so much money the team folded without being able to repeat as champions.[7] Meminger was coaxed to head west, leaving Capistran behind, when he signed up to coach the San Francisco Pioneers in what would be the league's final season.

Among the players Meminger coached to a championship were twins Faye and Kaye Young, fresh out of North Carolina State University. Kaye was married to former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.[9] Kaye Cowher died of skin cancer at age 54 on July 23, 2010.

In 1982 Meminger was hired to coach the Albany Patroons in the Continental Basketball Association. He was dismissed for his combative style with his players and replaced by his former Knicks teammate and friend Phil Jackson. Meminger convinced Jackson to let him try out for the team but he was unable to resurrect his career on the court.[7]

Meminger coached the USBL's Long Island Knights in 1987, and in later years, spent some time coaching at Manhattanville College in New York.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Meminger's son goes by the same name and is a news reporter and anchor for NY1 News.[11]

On November 22, 2009, Meminger was rescued from a fire in the Bronx in New York City. Suffering from smoke inhalation, he was admitted to the burn unit of Jacobi Medical Center.[12] Meminger recovered and would remain active in local basketball events. He and trainer Rick Capistran reconnected after 30 years when Capistran tracked his old coach down after reading about Meminger's brush with death in the fire.

Meminger had battled drug addiction for decades and was living in Baltimore, Maryland. He was in Harlem to receive a community award[13] when he was found dead in his room at the Casablanca Hotel in Harlem on August 23, 2013.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Goldstein, Richard (August 23, 2013), "Dean Meminger, Who Helped Knicks to a Title, Dies at 65", The New York Times
  3. ^ NBA Black History month interview Archived 2012-11-08 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Goldstein, Richard (August 23, 2013). "Dean Meminger, Who Helped Knicks to a Title, Dies at 65". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ statistics
  7. ^ a b c Wise, Mike (December 25, 2003). "PRO BASKETBALL; How Dean Meminger Turned His Life Around". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Women's Professional Basketball League
  9. ^ Shontz, Lori (October 6, 2002). "A sporting chance: Title IX opens doors for athletes such as Kaye and Meagan Cowher". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  10. ^ The Daily News article: "Meminger featured in The Daily News" Archived 2006-11-08 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Dean Meminger staff profile Archived 2009-01-01 at the Wayback Machine at
  12. ^ Dean Meminger Critical After Suspected Crack-Pipe Fire
  13. ^ Berman, Marc (August 24, 2013). "Earl Monroe mourns former Knicks teammate Dean Meminger". New York Post.
  14. ^ "Knicks great Meminger found dead of possible overdose -- with championship ring still on finger". NY Post. August 23, 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.

External links[edit]