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Tom Gola

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SPORTS
January 28, 2014 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Staff Writer
TOM GOLA was, without any argument, the most accomplished college basketball player in city history. La Salle won the NIT when he was a freshman in 1952, the NCAA when he was a junior in 1954 and finished runner-up to Bill Russell's great San Francisco team when he was a senior. His death yesterday at 81 serves as a reminder of what he was on the court. It also conjures a nostalgic time from the 1950s when a sporting hero from 3rd and Lindley and Incarnation Grade School never lost sight of his roots and treated every kid who idolized him like he was one of his own. Gola was not years ahead of his time as a player.
SPORTS
January 29, 2014 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
By the time Jack Scheuer's Frankford High basketball team arrived at La Salle High for a preseason game, everyone already knew who that big, tall, quick guy was on the Explorers. He was Tom Gola. And he could dribble like a point guard and rebound like a forward. It was 1950 and Gola, Scheuer said, had been already been famous for a few years. Gola led Incarnation of Our Lord parish to a national schoolboy title when he was in the eighth grade. "He had 27 points and I had none," said Scheuer.
NEWS
January 28, 2014 | By Frank Fitzpatrick and Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writers
Tom Gola, 81, a giant from Philadelphia basketball's greatest generation who parlayed his fame as perhaps the most honored player in college history into a career in the NBA, politics, and business, died Sunday at St. Joseph's Manor in Meadowbrook. Mr. Gola had been convalescing ever since he suffered a head injury in a fall from a Philadelphia curb on July 25, 2003. "Tom Gola is known by all as a truly great player and coach, but it was the man that was most cherished at La Salle," said the team's current coach, John Giannini.
SPORTS
January 31, 2014 | BY ANDREW ALBERT, Daily News Staff Writer alberta@phillynews.com
LA SALLE University's Brother Joe Grabenstein used one word to describe Tom Gola during his eulogy yesterday morning. Genuine. Hundreds of people packed into St. Albert the Great Catholic Church to say goodbye to Gola one final time. Gola's family, plus friends, fans and Philadelphia basketball legends, were at the Huntingdon Valley church to remember Gola as an outstanding man. Gola died Sunday afternoon at age 81. He is still the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder, and is one of only two men to win an NIT, NCAA and NBA championship.
SPORTS
March 21, 2013 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
THE GREAT GOLA is 80 now. Monday afternoon, the La Salle legend was seated in a wheelchair, just outside his upper-floor corner room in St. Joseph's Manor, connected to Holy Redeemer Hospital on Huntingdon Pike. There are Philadelphia sporting icons and then there is Tom Gola - CYO champion, Catholic League champion, NIT champion, NCAA champion, NBA champion, an unparalleled resume of accomplishment in this city or really any city. A few hours earlier, his wife Caroline had filled in the blank pages from the last 10 years.
SPORTS
February 1, 2014 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Tom Gola helped Lionel Simmons navigate the purchase of his first home. And his first car. And secure his first sports agent. Gola persuaded La Salle University that Speedy Morris was the right man for the job, even if Morris lacked the necessary qualifications to be men's basketball coach. And Gola, Fran Dunphy said, "did not see black or white. He just saw people. " Gola, who died Sunday at age 81, was one of the city's all-time basketball greats, but at Thursday's funeral he was remembered for being much more.
SPORTS
January 29, 2014 | BY DR. LARRY N. GEVER, For the Daily News
FOR A 10-year-old, basketball-crazy boy, this was going to be a dream come true! The rumor mill in the neighborhood was "reporting" that Tom Gola just moved into our subdivision. It was August 1959. About a month earlier, I had moved with my family from Oxford Circle to the Far Northeast, in a newly discovered section of the city called Somerton. The name of the brand-new, Korman-built development was Brentwood Park. It was an exciting time for me - I was looking forward to starting fifth grade in the fall at a new school (Watson Comly Elementary, which was an actually an old school, even back then)
NEWS
April 23, 1989 | By Donald Hunt, Special to The Inquirer
Tom Gola, former La Salle High star, will be one of seven basketball legends inducted into the new Philadelphia Basketball Hall of Fame on April 24 at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall. Gola, 56, will be inducted along with Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Arizin, Harry Litwack, Zack Clayton, the late Eddie Gottlieb and Charles "Tarzan" Cooper. "I'm really looking forward to going into the Hall of Fame," Gola said. "This is Philadelphia basketball at its very best. This certainly means a lot to me. There's no question about this city's basketball tradition.
SPORTS
February 1, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
A soaring Polish hymn, "Serdeczna Matko," filled the church. With its high ceiling and wide pews, St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Huntingdon Valley has roughly the dimensions of a decent-sized basketball court. On Thursday, there was Philadelphia basketball royalty in most every pew. They'd shown up for one of their kings. It seemed fitting that although so many could have offered personal memories, Tom Gola's funeral Thursday morning featured one pitch-perfect eulogy, by a Christian brother at La Salle University who took those in attendance on a little tour of Gola's life.
SPORTS
December 9, 2013 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK - Speedy Morris realizes that people hand out lifetime achievement awards only to retired basketball coaches who are getting up there in age. He pleads guilty on one count. "Yes, I'm getting old, I'm 71," Morris said Saturday after being recognized with a Lifetime Coaching Excellence Award at the ECAC Holiday Festival tournament at Madison Square Garden. But retirement? Forget about it. Morris is entering his 46th year as a head coach and his 13th season at St. Joseph's Prep, and he feels too good to stop.
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NEWS
April 3, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jack Sherry, 81, of Drexel Hill, a two-sport star at Penn State and the captain of the Nittany Lions' only basketball team to reach the NCAA Final Four, died Monday night in Lankenau Hospital. Born in West Philadelphia, the oldest of six children, Mr. Sherry, a 1950 graduate of West Catholic, attended Penn State on a football scholarship. Playing offensive end and defensive back, he set a team record in 1952 with eight interceptions, a mark that stood until 1969. As a senior in 1954, he led the Nittany Lions in receiving yards and tied for the lead in receptions.
SPORTS
March 20, 2014 | BY TOM MAHON, Daily News Staff Writer mahont@phillynews.com
IT WILL, says Bill Raftery, be his first Big 5 doubleheader ever. The 70-year-old analyst, who played for La Salle from 1961-64, is working his 32nd NCAA Tournament. He will join Verne Lundquist and sideline reporter Allie LaForce when CBS broadcasts tomorrow's Saint Joseph's-Connecticut and Villanova-Milwaukee games in Buffalo. "I've been in the Palestra and done games, and I once did a tripleheader there many, many years ago, but no teams from Philly played in it," Raftery said yesterday.
SPORTS
February 3, 2014 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Columnist
In 1956, to enter the first-grade classroom at Incarnation of Our Lord Parish School in Olney, you had to climb a flight of outdoor steps. Near their base, as uninviting and spooky as a crypt, was a sunken doorway that opened to a dark and spookier basement gym. "Down there," our nun noted, in a tone so reverent she might have been describing the Bethlehem stable, "is where Tom Gola learned to play basketball. " It was a humble birthplace for a god. In case you missed the news, god is dead.
NEWS
February 1, 2014
Threat on rails Given that lengthy trains just like the one that derailed over the Schuylkill last week pass through Philadelphia every day, this kind of accident seems almost inevitable ("Getting oil, tankers off the bridge," Jan. 29). When a similar train derailed and exploded in rural North Dakota earlier this month, residents were evacuated within a five-mile radius. Here that would encompass much of the city, including all the major hospitals. Are we prepared? A safety alert issued recently by the U.S. Department of Transportation warned the public, emergency responders, and shippers about the potential high volatility of crude from the Bakken oil patch.
SPORTS
February 1, 2014 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Tom Gola helped Lionel Simmons navigate the purchase of his first home. And his first car. And secure his first sports agent. Gola persuaded La Salle University that Speedy Morris was the right man for the job, even if Morris lacked the necessary qualifications to be men's basketball coach. And Gola, Fran Dunphy said, "did not see black or white. He just saw people. " Gola, who died Sunday at age 81, was one of the city's all-time basketball greats, but at Thursday's funeral he was remembered for being much more.
SPORTS
February 1, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
A soaring Polish hymn, "Serdeczna Matko," filled the church. With its high ceiling and wide pews, St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Huntingdon Valley has roughly the dimensions of a decent-sized basketball court. On Thursday, there was Philadelphia basketball royalty in most every pew. They'd shown up for one of their kings. It seemed fitting that although so many could have offered personal memories, Tom Gola's funeral Thursday morning featured one pitch-perfect eulogy, by a Christian brother at La Salle University who took those in attendance on a little tour of Gola's life.
SPORTS
January 31, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
Mainly into their own thing, Tom Gola's La Salle players didn't necessarily focus on their coach's hectic life: driving to Harrisburg on Monday mornings for his duties as a member of the state legislature; leaving La Salle's practice that day to his assistants; staying over in the state capital; getting back Tuesday in time for the afternoon workout; keeping his fledgling insurance practice going. That team Gola coached: You don't get much debate calling La Salle's 1968-69 squad the best in Big Five history.
SPORTS
January 31, 2014 | BY ANDREW ALBERT, Daily News Staff Writer alberta@phillynews.com
LA SALLE University's Brother Joe Grabenstein used one word to describe Tom Gola during his eulogy yesterday morning. Genuine. Hundreds of people packed into St. Albert the Great Catholic Church to say goodbye to Gola one final time. Gola's family, plus friends, fans and Philadelphia basketball legends, were at the Huntingdon Valley church to remember Gola as an outstanding man. Gola died Sunday afternoon at age 81. He is still the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder, and is one of only two men to win an NIT, NCAA and NBA championship.
SPORTS
January 29, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
AS FAR AS John Chaney is concerned, he and another legend, Tom Gola, will remain forever linked for something that happened over six decades ago. In 1951, La Salle High's Gola and Ben Franklin's Chaney were being honored as respective Catholic and Public League Players of the Year. They received their awards at a big-time banquet at a downtown hotel. The only problem was, Chaney didn't own a suit. So he had to wear one that belonged to his "stepdaddy," which of course was way too big for him. Chaney called it his zoot suit.
SPORTS
January 29, 2014 | By Keith Pompey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lorenzo Brown participated in his own day-night doubleheader. The rookie point guard went down to the 76ers' NBA Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, on Monday morning. He played in a 99-87 victory over the Austin Toros at the University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center. Then Brown rejoined the NBA team in time for the game against the Phoenix Suns on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. "AAU all the way. It's crazy," said Brown, jokingly comparing Monday to when he played in several games in Amateur Athletic Union tournaments as a teenager.
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