|Born||October 19, 1896 |
New York, New York
|Died||February 12, 1995 (aged 99)|
|Titles||1x NCAA champion|
1x NIT champ.
|1921||Union City Reds|
|1921||New York Wirlwinds|
|1921-1928||Boston Celtics (original)|
|1928-1929||New York Hakoahs|
Nat Holman (born Nathan Helmanowich; born on October 19, 1896-February 12, 1995) was an American former professional basketball player who was one of the early pro basketball players and one of the game's most important innovators as a coach. In his later years, he lived and died at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
Known for his exceptional ball-handling and his accurate shooting, Holman was a star player at the Savage School for Physical Education (which later became part of New York University). Also a gifted passer and excellent floor leader, Holman has been a prototype to later playmakers. Savage went 30-0 in the two years it took Holman to complete his academic program there. After graduating Holman accepted a job coaching various sports at City College of New York (including Freshman basketball), and continued to play basketball as a professional on the weekends.
Holman played for on fourteen pro teams in his 17 year career. On January 19, 1921, he played four games in one day with three different teams: with Detroit, Union City and the Rochester Centrals, winning three and losing one game. At the same time (the 1920-21 season), Holman was the star of the Germantown Germs of the Eastern Basket Ball League. He led Germantown to the league championship and captured the scoring title with his 8.4 PPG (285 points) average.
One of the more prominent teams he played for was the New York Whirlwinds.When Holman and the Whirlwinds beat the mighty Original Celtics (no relation to the Boston Celtics), Celtics owner Jim Furey lured Holman away with something new: an exclusive contract. With Holman, the Celtics became one of the best teams in the world. The Celtics claimed that, at $1,500 per month, Holman was the highest-paid basketball player in the world in 1923.
After the Celtics disbanded in 1928, Holman played for the New York Hakoahs (1928-29), the Syracuse All-Americans (1929-30) and the Chicago Bruins (1930-33) in the American Basketball League. During his time in the ABL he scored 81 points in 526 games (6.5 points/game).
Although he played pro basketball until 1933, he took over the head coaching position at the CCNY in 1920. He was immensely successful. Known as Mr. Basketball, Holman guided CCNY to the so-called grand slam of college basketball, winning both the NCAA Tournament and National Invitation Tournament (NIT) titles in 1950, a feat that has never been achieved since. Holman compiled a 421-190 record in 37 seasons at CCNY, retiring in 1960.
Holman also contributed to the establishment of basketball's popularity in Israel. He was one of the organizers of the first Maccabiah Games in 1932. He spent three weeks in Israel in 1949, where he gave clinics to they young men who would establish coach and organized basketball in the new state. In the 1940s and 1950s he traveled around the world promoting the sport.
Holman also founded Camp Scatico in 1921 and ran the camp until he sold it to his niece and her husband in 1964.
Author and Producer
He also produced two motion pictures on basketball: College Basketball and Championship Basketball. He was a member of National Collegiate Basketball Coaches Association and was its president in 1941.
In 1964 Nat Holman was enshrined as a player in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1968 he was inducted into the City College of New York Athletics Hall of Fame and in 1979 he was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.