Larry Costello
Personal information
Born(1931-07-02)July 2, 1931
Minoa, New York, U.S.[1]
DiedDecember 13, 2001(2001-12-13) (aged 70)
Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight186 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High schoolMinoa (Minoa, New York)
CollegeNiagara (1951–1954)
NBA draft1954: 2nd round, 12th overall pick
Selected by the Philadelphia Warriors
Playing career1954–1968
PositionPoint guard
Number5, 18, 15, 6, 21
Coaching career1968–1987
Career history
As player:
19541957Philadelphia Warriors
19571965Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers
1965–1966Wilkes-Barre Barons
19661968Philadelphia 76ers
As coach:
19681976Milwaukee Bucks
1978–1979Chicago Bulls
1979–1980Milwaukee Does
1980–1987Utica College
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Career NBA playing statistics
Points8,622 (12.2 ppg)
Rebounds2,705 (3.8 rpg)
Assists3,215 (4.6 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Career coaching record
NBA430–300 (.589)
Basketball Hall of Fame

Lawrence Ronald Costello (July 2, 1931 – December 13, 2001) was an American professional basketball player and coach. He played for the Philadelphia Warriors and the Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, and the Wilkes-Barre Barons of the EPBL. He served as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls.

A six-time All-Star, Costello was the National Basketball Association's last two-handed set shooter. As the inaugural coach of the Bucks, he led them to a championship in their third season of existence in 1971, the fastest run for an expansion team in NBA history. In ten seasons as a coach, Costello reached the postseason six times, while winning 37 of his 60 postseason games as coach, for a winning percentage of 61.7%, ninth best in NBA history.[2] In 2022, Costello was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor.[3]

Playing career

Costello attended at Niagara University after growing up in Minoa, New York (born to parents that were basketball players in high school) and attending East Syracuse-Minoa High School. He had excelled in basketball, baseball, and football but chose to attend Niagara for basketball.[1]

Costello played three seasons at Niagara, from 1951 to 1954, after spending his freshman year on the freshman team due to the NCAA rules of the time. He led the Purple Eagles to the National Invitational Tournament in 1953 and 1954 before graduating as the all-time leading scorer (1,275) in program history (he now ranks in the top thirty).[3][4] He wore the jersey number of 24 until his senior season due to his efforts in a notable game in his junior year. Against Siena on February 21, 1953, Costello played all but twenty seconds of a six-overtime game that ran for 69 minutes, where he scored 21 points in an 88-81 win. To commemorate his efforts in the longest college basketball game at that time, his jersey number was switched to 69. His jersey number of 69 was retired by Niagara in 2001.[5][6]

Costello was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1954, electing to choose it over study at the University of Buffalo and their dental school due to having more of a passion for basketball. After his rookie season, he served in the Korean War for a year before returning to play for the Warriors. [7] After the season, Costello was traded to the Syracuse Nationals for $5,000. He averaged over ten points a game in each of his first eight seasons with the team.

Costello retired in 1965 from the Philadelphia 76ers (the former Syracuse Nationals), but eventually came back for the 1966–67 NBA season after new head coach Alex Hannum told him he needed a veteran point guard. Forty-two games into the season, Costello tore his Achilles tendon on January 6, 1967, and was replaced by Wali Jones. He did, however, come back to participate in the 1967 playoffs, where he earned a championship ring. Costello ended his career for the second and final time in 1968.

During his NBA career, Costello was selected to six NBA All-Star Games (playing in five). He led the league in free throw percentage in the 1962–63 and 1964–65 seasons.

Coaching career

Costello began his coaching career at East Syracuse-Minoa High School, his alma mater, where he served for the 1968 season.

Costello took over as head coach of the expansion team Milwaukee Bucks in 1968 and coached them to a league-best 66–16 mark in 1970–71, including a then-NBA record 20-game win streak. The Bucks won the championship in the post-season with a 4–0 sweep of the Baltimore Bullets. The Bucks won a league best 59 games during the 1973–74 regular season and returned to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

After a 3–15 start in the 1976–77 season, Costello resigned on November 22, 1976.[8] He was replaced by Don Nelson, who would be head coach of the Bucks for 11 seasons.

Costello coached the Chicago Bulls for 56 games in 1978–79 before returning to Milwaukee to coach the Milwaukee Does of the Women's Professional Basketball League for part of the 1979–80 season.

Costello's last coaching job was at Utica College in the 1980s. The school was making the transition from Division III to Division I as an independent. Costello coached one season in Division III. In his second year in Division I, the Pioneers were the seventh most improved team in the country based on their won-loss record. Costello retired in 1987, having won 65 games at Utica in six seasons.[9]

Costello was best known as one of the first coaches to employ videotape to analyze his team and opponents.

Later life

Costello appeared on NBA Live videogame series, as member of the 1950s NBA Live Legend All-Stars Team.

Costello died on December 13, 2001, after battling cancer for more than a year.[10]

Costello was featured in the book Basketball History in Syracuse, Hoops Roots by author Mark Allen Baker published by The History Press in 2010. The book is an introduction to professional basketball in Syracuse and includes teams like (Vic Hanson's) All-Americans, the Syracuse Reds and the Syracuse Nationals (1946–1963).

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 †  Won an NBA championship  *  Led the league

Regular season

Year Team GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
1954–55 Philadelphia 19 24.4 .331 .813 2.6 4.1 6.2
1956–57 Philadelphia 72 29.3 .374 .788 4.5 3.3 7.6
1957–58 Syracuse 72 38.1 .426 .847 5.3 4.4 14.9
1958–59 Syracuse 70 39.3 .437 .802 5.2 5.4 15.8
1959–60 Syracuse 71 34.8 .453 .862 5.5 6.3 14.0
1960–61 Syracuse 75 28.9 .482 .799 3.9 5.5 14.5
1961–62 Syracuse 63 29.4 .427 .837 3.9 5.7 13.8
1962–63 Syracuse 78 26.5 .432 .881* 3.0 4.3 11.0
1963–64 Philadelphia 45 25.3 .468 .865 2.3 3.7 11.8
1964–65 Philadelphia 64 30.7 .445 .877* 2.6 4.3 13.5
1966–67 Philadelphia 49 19.9 .444 .902 2.1 2.9 7.8
1967–68 Philadelphia 28 17.6 .453 .827 1.8 2.4 7.2
Career 706 30.0 .438 .841 3.8 4.6 12.2
All-Star 5 14.2 .344 1.000 1.8 2.2 4.8

Playoffs

Year Team GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
1957 Philadelphia 2 8.0 .375 .000 2.5 1.0 3.0
1958 Syracuse 3 44.7 .294 1.000 8.3 4.0 11.3
1959 Syracuse 9 40.1 .446 .836 5.9 6.0 17.7
1960 Syracuse 3 40.7 .426 .833 4.7 6.7 16.7
1961 Syracuse 8 33.6 .408 .855 4.4 6.5 16.4
1962 Syracuse 5 33.4 .431 .879 3.2 5.6 14.6
1963 Syracuse 5 26.8 .432 .826 0.8 4.6 10.2
1964 Philadelphia 5 7.2 .214 1.000 0.6 0.8 3.2
1965 Philadelphia 10 20.7 .415 .688 1.2 2.0 5.5
1967 Philadelphia 2 12.5 .750 1.000 2.0 1.5 8.5
Career 52 28.3 .416 .852 3.3 4.2 11.4

Head coaching record

Legend
Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Milwaukee 1968–69 82 27 55 .329 7th in Eastern Missed Playoffs
Milwaukee 1969–70 82 56 26 .683 2nd in Eastern 10 5 5 .500 Lost in Conference semifinals
Milwaukee 1970–71 82 66 16 ..805 2nd in Midwest 14 12 2 .857 Won NBA Championship
Milwaukee 1971–72 82 63 19 .768 1st in Midwest 7 6 5 .545 Lost in Conference finals
Milwaukee 1972–73 82 60 22 .732 1st in Midwest 6 2 4 .333 Lost in Conference semifinals
Milwaukee 1973–74 82 59 23 .720 1st in Midwest 16 11 5 .688 Lost in NBA Finals
Milwaukee 1974–75 82 38 44 .463 4th in Midwest Missed Playoffs
Milwaukee 1975–76 82 38 44 .463 1st in Midwest 3 1 2 .333 Lost in First round
Milwaukee 1976–77 18 3 15 .167 (resigned) - - -
Chicago 1978–79 56 20 36 .357 (fired) - - -
Career 730 430 300 .589 60 37 23 .617

References

  1. ^ a b Ditota, Donna (August 21, 2022). "Larry Costello: A scrawny kid from Minoa lays the foundation for the NBA, Hall of Fame". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  2. ^ "NBA Coach Register".
  3. ^ a b Brady, Erik (April 6, 2022). "Erik Brady: Niagara legend Larry Costello to finally get his due in Basketball Hall of Fame". The Buffalo News. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  4. ^ "East Syracuse-Minoa legend Larry Costello to be inducted in NBA Hall of Fame".
  5. ^ Ditota, Donna (August 22, 2022). "Larry Costello: Focused and intense, the Niagara star emerges as a handful to guard (Part 2)". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  6. ^ "When Niagara played six OTs". March 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "HOOP DU JOUR: BASKETBAll's LAST SET SHOOTER, AND COACH OF MILWAUKee's 1971 TITLE TEAM – LARRY COSTELLO DESERVES a PLACE IN THE HALL | National Basketball Retired Players Association". October 20, 2021.
  8. ^ Costello Quits Bucks
  9. ^ "Former Men's Basketball Coach Larry Costello to be Inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame". April 6, 2022.
  10. ^ "BUCKS: Larry Costello, Bucks First Head Coach, Dies at Age 70". NBA.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2006.