August 26, 1898|
|Died||December 12, 1995
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1925–1928||North Central HS|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|1963–1971||Big Sky (commissioner)|
|Head coaching record|
|Overall||495–377 (.568) – (college)|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|Pacific Coast: 1941|
John Bryan Friel (August 26, 1898 – 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. He was later the first commissioner of the Big Sky Conference.
Friel played college basketball at Washington State before becoming a high school coach. In 1928, he was named the head coach of Washington State. His teams won one Pacific Coast Conference championship and three divisional titles. Friel also coached the university's baseball team and officiated college football games.
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. He claimed six varsity letters, and in 18 starts as a baseball pitcher had a win–loss record of 15–1.
High school coach
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. One of three Washington State teams to win a Pacific Coast Conference divisional championship under Friel, 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. Friel has been credited as helping to change free throw rules in college basketball. 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.
After the early 1950s, his Cougar teams struggled, failing to post a winning record following a 19–16 mark in 1951–52; in November 1957, Friel announced that he would retire at the end of the season. Friel had the eighth-most wins among Division I men's college basketball coaches when he retired. He remained with the school into the 1960s, continuing as golf coach and in the physical education program.
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. The following year, Friel was among the first to be inducted into Washington State's Athletic Hall of Fame.
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. Into the 1980s, Friel continued working for the Pac-10, evaluating officials.
Friel died at the age of 97 in Pullman on December 12, 1995, due to pneumonia. In 2003, he was inducted into the Pac-10 Basketball Hall of Honor. That summer, his widow Catherine died at age 101.
Head coaching record
|Washington State Cougars (Pacific Coast Conference) (1928–1958)|
|1940–41||Washington State||26–6||13–3||1st||NCAA Runner-up|
|Washington State:||495–377 (.568)||227–251 (.475)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
- "Men's Basketball Coaches Career" (Search for Jack Friel under Player/Coach Search). National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- "Four Fathers of Cougar Basketball: Jack Friel". Washington State University. January 18, 2006. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Former Cougar Coach Friel Dies at 97". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. December 14, 1995. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- Blanchette, John (December 14, 1995). "Death takes Jack Friel". The Spokesman-Review. pp. C1, C4. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "Jack Friel Named Big Sky Executive". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. June 8, 1963. p. 8. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "Jack Friel". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on January 7, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- "Seven Cougars in Hall of Fame". Spokane Daily Chronicle. October 3, 1978. p. 17. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia. New York City: ESPN Books. 2009. p. 492. ISBN 0-345-51392-4.
- McDonough, Ted (December 13, 1995). "WSU's winningest coach, Friel, dies at 97". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1A. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "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.
- Missildine, Harry (December 15, 1995). "Jack Friel: Time never passed him". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. p. 1C. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- "Cougar Hoop Coach to Retire". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. November 26, 1957. p. 8. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- Blanchette, John (December 16, 1995). "It's High Time Hall Of Fame Welcomes Friel". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- "It's now 'Friel Court'". The Spokesman-Review. April 30, 1977. p. 19. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- "Steve Puidokas to be inducted into Pac-12 Hall of Honor". Washington State University. February 8, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- "Catherine Friel: 101, Pullman resident". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. July 29, 2003. p. 2A. Retrieved April 29, 2012.