John Russell (basketball)

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John "Honey" Russell (May 31, 1902 – November 15, 1973) was an American basketball player and coach born in Brooklyn, New York. He turned professional after his sophomore year of high school, and for the next 28 years he played for numerous early 20th century pro teams, including many in the American Basketball League. His career included over 3,200 pro games (a number that would take a modern NBA player 30–40 years to equal). He was the first coach of the NBA's Boston Celtics (1946–1948).[1]

Russell coached basketball at Seton Hall University from 1936 to 1943 and again from 1949 to 1960. His teams won 294 games and lost 137. In 1940 and 1941, Seton Hall ran its winning streak to 43 games, a national record at the time. The 1952-53 team won the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City. That team won 31 games including 27 in a row, while only losing 2 games.

In 1964, Russell was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Russell also was a scout in professional baseball, working for the Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos and Chicago White Sox.[2] Of the many players he signed, 23 made it to the major leagues, including the Joe and Frank Torre, Don McMahon, and Earl Williams.


  1. ^ "Boston Celtics Coaches". Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  2. ^ Associated Press, November 16, 1973

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