HOLZMAN, WILLIAM

HOLZMAN, WILLIAM
HOLZMAN, WILLIAM ("Red"; 1920–1998), U.S. basketball coach, leading the New York Knicks to two NBA Championships, and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Holzman was born on New York's Lower East Side, the youngest of three children to Sophie, a Romanian immigrant, and Abraham, an immigrant tailor from Poland. When Holzman was seven his Yiddish-speaking family moved to Ocean Hill in Brooklyn, where Holzman became an All-City guard at Franklin K. Lane High School. Holzman then attended the University of Baltimore for a year before transferring to City College of New York. There he played two years under legendary coach nat holman , learning his philosophy of team-oriented basketball that would later become Holzman's trademark with the New York Knicks. In his senior year, Holzman was co-captain of the CCNY team that played to a 16–3 record, and was named All-Metropolitan and third team All-American. Holzman enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942, and played on the Norfolk, Virginia, Naval Base team for two years. After being discharged in 1945, Holzman began a nine-year professional career, the first eight with the Rochester Royals, playing for team owner   and coach les harrison . The team won the NBL championship in 1946, and Holzman was NBL First Team All-Star in 1946 and 1948, and NBL Second Team All-Star in 1947. That team also won the NBA championship in 1951, making Holzman one of only 10 players to win championships as a player and coach. In 1953, Holzman left the Royals and joined the Milwaukee Hawks as a player-coach, retiring as a player after one season but remaining as coach. The Hawks moved to St. Louis in 1955, and Holzman was fired after the team lost 19 of its first 33 games in 1956–57, ending his first coaching stint with a record of 83–120. He then became a scout for the New York Knicks in 1957, and head coach on Dec. 27, 1967, a position he held for 14 of the next 15 years. Holzman's record over that span was 613–384, including NBA championships in 1970 and 1973. Holzman compiled a regular-season record of 696–604 (.535) and a 58–48 playoff mark in his 18-year NBA coaching career. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1970 and NBA Coach of the Decade for the 1970s by the pro basketball writers; he was the first recipient of the National Basketball Coaches Association Achievement Award in 1981. Holzman was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985, and on March 10, 1990, the Knicks hung a jersey from the rafters of Madison Square Garden with the number 613, representing the number of his wins as Knicks coach. Holzman was also named a member of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, the City College Hall of Fame, and the PSAL Hall of Fame. He was the author of six books, including The Knicks (1971), Holzman's Basketball: Winning Strategy and Tactics (1973), A View from the Bench (1980), and Red On Red (1987). (Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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