He was considered one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history.
Photo from Mount St. Mary’s Facebook page
Emmitsburg, Md (KM) Some sad news out of Mount Saint Mary’s University. The school announced that legendary basketball coach Jim Phelan has died. The school’s Athletic Department reports that Phelan passed away in his sleep Tuesday night at his home at the age of 92.
Mount President Tim Trainor said he was saddened to hear news about Coach Phalen’s passing. “Coach Phalen really was a legend. He’s a legend of the Mount. 49 years coaching, 830 wins and all the accolades. But more than that, he was just a good man,” says Trainor.
He continues by saying for Coach Phalen, it was more than just playing basketball. It was also preparing his players for life. “He set up student athletes and others for success in life. And he did it so humbly. He’s just an example for all to follow,” says Trainor.
Phelan, who was famous for wearing bow ties, is considered one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history. He spent 49 seasons at the Mount, taking the basketball team to 14 NCAA Division 2 tournaments, including five trips the Final Four and a national championship in 1962. He retired in 2003.
Trainor says Coach Phelan, in his life lessons to players, prepared those young men for service to others. “How you develop people to lead those lives of significance and service to God and others, and he did it so well. He was just beloved by so many,” he says.
During his time at Mount Saint Mary’s, Trainor says Coach Phalen received offers to coach at bigger schools for more money and prestige. But Phalen chose to stay at Mount Saint Mary’s. “He did not have the ego that would drive him to go to a bigger school for more pay or more prestige. He stayed at the Mount because he knew he was making a difference and he was needed at the Mount,”: Trainor says.
Phelan was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Half of Fame in 2008.
He was a native of Philadelphia who starred on La Salle’s basketball team before coming to Mount Saint Mary’s in 1954. . .
President Trainor says a memorial service will be held at the Mount for Coach Phalen. No date has been scheduled.
By Kevin McManus