Ward "Piggy" Lambert
Ward L. "Piggy" Lambert (b. May 28, 1888 in Deadwood, South Dakota - d. January 20, 1958) coached the men's basketball team at Purdue University for nearly 30 years. He is considered the father of the "big man" and the "fast break" tactics.
He played basketball (in addition to baseball) at Crawfordsville High School and Wabash College, both under coach Ralph Jones, who would go on the coach Purdue. Despite his short (5' 6") stature, he led the team in scoring his sophomore year - leading to his nickname "Piggy" for hogging the ball. He graduated from Wabash College in 1911.
Lambert coached Purdue University (1916-17, 1918-46) to a 371-152 record in 29 seasons, including 11 Big Ten titles. His teams were noted for their speed and effective use of fast breaks, which he developed. Among his great players were Charles "Stretch" Murphy and John Wooden. Lambert missed the 1917-18 season to serve in the Army during World War I. (J. J. Maloney, an attorney from Crawfordsville, Indiana, filled in and guided the 1917-18 Boilermakers to an 11-5 record.) Lambert's 1932 team were named national champions (before the advent of post-season tournaments). He coached 16 All-Americans and 31 first team All-Big Ten selections. Lambert Fieldhouse, which once served as the facility for Purdue's home basketball games, bears his name.
When Lambert retired from Purdue he became the Commissioner of the National Basketball League (NBL), a professional league centered in the Midwest. He held that position until 1949. He is credited with signing Chicago sensation George Mikan to a contract with the NBL's Minneapolis Lakers when his previous club, the Chicago American Gears folded. Thus the NBL kept this marquis player away from the newly established Basketball Association of America.
Lambert wrote Practical Basketball in 1932, one of the first "bibles" of the game. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 1960 and is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.