| Wins against Kentucky - 2 | Losses against Kentucky - 10 |
Alma Mater: Temple 
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Date Born: September 20, 1907
Date Died: August 7, 1999
Overall Record: 373-193 [21 Seasons]
|12/8/1962||Kentucky at Temple||W||56 - 52||-|
|12/18/1961||Temple at Kentucky||W||78 - 55||-|
|12/17/1960||Kentucky at Temple||L||58 - 66||-|
|12/22/1959||Kentucky vs. Temple||W||97 - 92||(at Louisville, KY)|
|12/6/1958||Kentucky at Temple||W||76 - 71||-|
|3/21/1958||Kentucky vs. Temple||W||61 - 60||NCAA Final Four (at Louisville, KY)|
|12/7/1957||Temple at Kentucky||W||85 - 83 3 OT||-|
|12/8/1956||Kentucky at Temple||W||73 - 58||-|
|12/10/1955||Temple at Kentucky||L||61 - 73||-|
|1/1/1955||Kentucky at Temple||W||101 - 69||-|
|12/18/1954||Temple at Kentucky||W||79 - 61||-|
|12/5/1953||Temple at Kentucky||W||86 - 59||-|
Obituary - Philadelphia Inquirer (August 8, 1999)
Legendary Temple Coach Litwack Dies at 91
"The Chief" won 373 games in 21 seasons and directed the Owls' rise to college basketball prominence
by Chuck Newman and Mel Greenberg
Harry Litwack, a low-profile coach who took the Temple University basketball program to the heights and won himself a place in the sport's hall of fame, died yesterday at home in Huntingdon Valley. He was 91.
Known for the omnipresent cloud of cigar smoke that wreathed his head, his placid demeanor and the development of the matchup zone for which the Owls are still known, Mr. Litwack compiled a 373-193 record while coaching the Owls from 1952 through 1973.
He took the team to 13 postseason tournaments and two appearances in the NCAA Final Four, in 1956 and 1958. The Owls won the NIT title in 1969, in the days when it was a major postseason tournament.
He also coached three consensus all-Americans in guards Hal Lear, Guy Rodgers and Bill "Pickles" Kennedy.
Known affectionately as "The Chief," Mr. Litwack was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield Mass., in 1975 and was voted coach of the year by the New York Basketball Writers in 1958.
He was also a member of the Temple University and the Big Five Halls of Fame and was awarded the Philadelphia Sports Writers Living Legends award in 1996.
"Basketball really was his life; he loved it," said his wife, Estelle. "He went right from high school on scholarship to Temple and stayed there until he retired."
Mr. Litwack was a two-time captain of the Owls basketball team in the 1920s, then spent 20 years as the junior varsity coach before he was hired as head coach. He found almost immediate success. His 1956 team compiled a 27-4 record. In 1958, the Owls were 27-3 and lost by a point, 61-60, to Kentucky in the NCAA semifinals.
His 1969 NIT championship came at a time where there was criticism that the game had passed him by. Rival Big Five coaches Jack Ramsey and Jack McCloskey had been having success at St. Joseph's, and Jack Kraft had an impressive record at Villanova.
"There were people laughing when he put up two fingers to indicate a play," said Don Casey, now the coach of the New Jersey Nets, who succeeded Mr. Litwack.
"Some people thought it was because his players couldn't remember the plays. But it was his way of telling the players exactly where he wanted the ball to go and where the shot was to be taken."
The Temple program is now prominent under coach John Chaney. But it all started with Litwack.
"The death of Harry Litwack reminds us of his permanence as a Temple University and sports legend - one of the handful of personalities who shaped a sport and an institution from adolescence into full-blown maturity," Temple president Peter J. Liacouras said in a statement.
"We are honored to have the Litwack-Chaney circle in the basketball court at The Apollo of Temple, and we expect that his name will soon be hoisted permanently above the court for future generations to wonder and learn the greatness of the man who we called 'The Chief'."
Litwack allowed no prima donnas on his team, maybe because his players were so lightly recruited by other schools, if not overlooked altogether.
Rodgers, who played on the 1956 NCAA team, was probably the only player accorded some freedom of expression by Mr. Litwack. Once, after a strategy time-out, Rodgers said to his coach, 'OK, Chief.'
That was one version of how Mr. Litwack gained his nickname.
Estelle Litwack had a different version. She said the nickname was born of the friendly manner in which he greeted people.
"When he used to drive a car, if he needed directions and saw a pedestrian walking by, he would say, 'Say, chief,'" she said. "It was an expression he said so often when he needed information that people soon began calling him that."
Jay Norman, a former player and assistant coach, recalled Litwack sitting in a chair at almost every practice, puffing on his favorite cigar.
"No matter what the situation was, in practice or a game, he never raised his voice," he said.
Casey said that observation may be a bit of an overstatement. It happened, he said: "Like in how many times is there a full moon?"
He was unflappable and incurably optimistic.
The Chief retired in 1973. In his final game at the Palestra, the announcer reminded the crowd that it was his last game. Mr. Litwack showed no sign of recognition.
Finally, Casey alerted the coach: "Chief, the applause is for you," he said. Litwack's only reaction was to look over his shoulder for his wife.
Later, Litwack told former player B.G. Kelley: "I didn't think I was that popular. I guess I got fooled."
Kelley, a point guard on temple's 1964 Middle Atlantic Conference title team, said Litwack was a special person, more than just a good coach.
"He manifested the human qualities we would all like to have. He was generous and he was wise and he was humble. He stood tall as a person, more than just a coach. Coaching wasn't what he did best - turning out players who became solid citizens was."
"We lost a dinosaur," Norman said. "There probably will never be another one like him."
Mr. Litwack is survived by his wife, the former Estelle Cabot; daughters Lois Keiserman and Shelley Smoger; grandsons Jon and Kelly Kieserman and David Smoger; and great-grandsons Jake and Brooke Kieserman.
Funeral services will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks Suburban Chapel, 310 Second Street Pike, Southampton. Interment will be at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Trevose. The family will return to the home of David Smoger, 1818 Oakwynne Road, Huntingdon Valley.
Contributions in his memory may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.
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